Mark 14:27-31

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 17, 2005


Jesus has finished celebrating the Passover, what we call the “Last Supper”. They have left Jerusalem, crossed over the Kidron Valley, and have made their way to the Mount of Olives where they will spend the night camping in the “Garden of the Oil Press”, or, the Garden of Gethsemane.

:27-31 Peter’s In Denial

:27 (NKJV) Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night,

made to stumbleskandalizo (“scandalize”) – to put a stumbling block in someone’s say; to trip someone up, to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.



Part of the idea of “stumbling” has to do with offending others. Life is full of times when we offend others and when we too are offended.
Sometimes there’s nothing we can do about it, we will cause others to be offended. There will just be things about us that people won’t like.


A young schoolboy was having a hard time pronouncing the letter “R,” and all the other kids were, of course, teasing him about it. To help him out, the teacher gave him a sentence to practice at home: “Robert gave Richard a rap in the ribs for roasting the rabbit so rare.” In class a few days later, the teacher asked the boy to recite the sentence out loud. The boy nervously eyed his classmates—many of them already laughing at him—then replied, “Bob gave Dick a poke in the side because the bunny wasn’t cooked enough.”

Jesus offended others. Yet His only offense was being good and right. When Jesus warned people about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, He didn’t have many kind things to say about those hypocrites.

(Mat 15:12 NKJV) Then His disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?"

Did He do anything wrong to offend them? Should He have held back on His strong words in order not to offend these hypocrites? Not at all.

This is what would be happening to the disciples. Jesus wasn’t going to be doing anything wrong, yet His disciples were going to be “offended”. They were going to be embarrassed and afraid to admit that they knew Jesus.
But there is another kind of “stumbling” others, when we cause others who have been close to God, to fall away from God.
(Luke 17:1-2 NKJV) Then He said to the disciples, "It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! {2} "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

It has been suggested that Jesus might have been talking about His followers when He talks about “these little ones”. The idea would be that you don’t want to be messing with any of God’s children.

Matthew records Jesus saying something very similar (Mat. 18:1-7), but in that instance Jesus was actually holding a little child.

I would hate to be a person who has abused a child and finds himself standing before God.

In Romans 14, Paul is talking about what we might call “gray areas”. For the Romans, the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols was a “gray area”. the cheapest meat in town though was often sold at the meat market behind the pagan temples, like the “Aphrodite Albertsons”. Some people thought it was horrible to eat meat that had been dedicated to an idol such as Aphrodite. Others knew that Aphrodite wasn’t a real person, so it didn’t bother them. Paul wrote,

(Rom 14:15 NKJV) Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.

The idea is that if you were to cause a person to do something that went against their own conscience, you were causing them to stumble. And this wasn’t loving them.

For example, the subject of drinking alcoholic beverages is actually a “gray” area. The Bible doesn’t prohibit drinking alcohol, it prohibits being drunk. But some people have a real trouble at the thought of drinking anything alcoholic. If you go out and ask them to have a beer with you, you could be causing them to stumble.

It’s all about learning to love others.

(1 John 2:10 NKJV) He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

There are some kinds of “stumbling” we can’t avoid. But there are some kinds we must avoid. We need to love each other correctly.

:27 for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.'

will be scattereddiaskorpizo – to scatter abroad, a word used to describe the process of winnowing, tossing the grain high up into the air so the wind can scatter the chaff.

Jesus is quoting from the prophet Zechariah:

(Zec 13:6-7 NKJV) "And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will answer, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' {7} "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion," Says the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.

There was a prophecy concerning the outcome of the shepherd being “struck”. The followers would scatter. Jesus is warning the fellows that this was going to be the case when He would be arrested and put to death.

:28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."

He’s telling them that He will rise from the dead. I’m not sure they understand yet what He’s telling them.

:29 Peter said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be."

saidphemi – The word comes from the word for “to bring forth into the light” (phaino).

It kind of sounds as if Peter is going to “illuminate” Jesus. Peter is going to “enlighten” Jesus about who is going to deny Jesus.

yet I will not be – the Greek is literally, “But not I”. After all, didn’t Jesus give Peter his nickname, “Rocky”? (Yo, Adrian!)


Arguing with the Word of God.

Not only is Peter arguing with Jesus, he’s arguing with the Word of God because Jesus made His point based on the Scriptures.
I’m not sure that’s a very smart place to be.
Arguing with what God says about heaven.
Often people will say that they believe that all religions are good and that all roads lead to heaven.
They will say that if you’re good enough, that you’ll go to heaven. People have all kinds of ideas about how to get to heaven…


Forrest Gump

The day finally arrived: Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is met at the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter himself. The gates are closed, however, and Forrest approaches the gatekeeper. Saint Peter says, “Well Forrest, it’s certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must inform you that the place is filling up fast, and we’ve been administering an entrance exam for everyone. The tests are fairly short, but you need to pass before you can get into Heaven,” Forrest responds, “It shore is good to be here Saint Peter. I was looking forward to this. Nobody ever told me about any entrance exams. Shore hope the test ain’t too hard; life was a big enough test as it was.” Saint Peter goes on, “Yes, I know Forrest. But, the test I have for you is only three questions. Here is the first: What days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’? Second, how many seconds are there in a year? Third, what is God’s first name?” Forrest goes away to think the questions over.Forest returns the next day and goes up to Saint Peter to try to answer the exam questions. Saint Peter waves him up and asks, “Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers.” Forrest says, “Well, the first one, how many days of the week begin with the letter ‘T’? Shucks, that one’s easy; that’d be Today and Tomorrow!” The saint’s eyes opened wide and he exclaims, “Forrest! That’s not what I was thinking, but... you do have a point though, and I guess I didn’t specify, so I give you credit for that answer.” “How about the next one” says Saint Peter, “how many seconds in a year?” “Now that one’s harder,” says Forrest. “But, I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.” Astounded, Saint Peter says, “Twelve! Twelve! Forrest, how in Heaven’s name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?” Forrest says, “Shucks, there gotta be twelve: January second, February second, March second.......” “Hold it,” interrupts Saint Peter. “I see where you’re going with it. And I guess I see your point, though that wasn’t quite what I had in mind. I’ll give you credit for that one too.” “Let’s go on with the next and final question,” says Saint Peter, “can you tell me God’s first name?” Forrest says, “Well shore, I know God’s first name. Everybody probably knows it. Its Howard.” “Howard?” asks Saint Peter. “What makes you think it’s Howard?” Forrest answers, “It’s in the prayer.” “The prayer?” asks Saint Peter, “Which prayer?” “The Lord’s Prayer,” responds Forrest: Our Father, which art in Heaven, Howard be thy name......”

It’s a cute story, but it has nothing to do with the reality of how to get to heaven.
But wouldn’t it be safer to see what God says about this? After all, God is the one who decides who goes to heaven, not us.

First of all, the Bible makes is clear that God does not want anyone going to hell. Hell was created for the devil and his angels. God’s desire is for every person to know Him and to go to heaven.

But the Bible makes it very clear that we have a huge problem on our hands when it comes to getting into heaven.

The Bible tells us that we are all sinners. Every single one of us.

And the Bible tells us that it is our sin that separates us from God. It’s our sin that keeps us out of heaven.

The Bible also tells us what it costs to take care of the sin problem – it requires that somebody die.

You can die for your sins, but that isn’t a good solution. That would mean you would go to hell.

If you could get somebody else to die for your sins – that would be a good way around the problem.

The Bible tells us that this is exactly what Jesus did for us. He died for us on the cross. He died in order to pay for our sins.

And now, in order to receive God’s forgiveness, to have our sins paid for, and to have the door to heaven open for us, we need to receive God’s free gift of forgiveness.

:30 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times."

assuredlyamen – surely, truly

todaysemeron – this (very) day

Jesus gets very specific with Peter. He doesn’t just say, “No, you’re wrong Peter”. Instead, He says, “Let me tell you the truth here Peter. You’re not just going to deny Me, but you’re going to do it today, and in fact you are going to deny me three times before this night is over, three times before the rooster will crow two times”.


Jesus knows you will stumble

I don’t say this to give you an excuse to sin. It’s not so that you can say to yourself, “Well, Jesus knows I’m going to sin anyway, so why not now?”
The point is that some people are completely surprised at the fact that they stumble and sin.
And when they do sin, they struggle with feeling that they’ve somehow lost their salvation or that God could never use them again.
Sometimes people fall further and further away from the Lord because they feel that once they’ve stumbled, there’s no coming back.
Yet Luke records Jesus saying to Peter,
(Lk 22:31-32 NKJV) 31 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Jesus told Peter that he would not only fail, but he would come back and when he did, he needed to encourage the other disciples.

The Bible says,
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The Bible says,
(Micah 7:19 NKJV) He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea.
When you stumble, get back up again.
(Prov 24:16 NASB) For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again…

:31 But he spoke more vehemently, "If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all said likewise.

The phrase in the Greek is, “But out of a sense of more than necessary, he spoke …”

I will notou me – never, certainly not, not at all, by no means. Peter uses two “negatives” in a row, to really stress that he will not deny Jesus.

Just because Peter says it a little more forcefully or a little louder doesn’t make it true.


 The danger of self-confidence

Too much self-confidence can be a dangerous thing.
Test at Duke
At Duke University, there were four sophomores taking Organic Chemistry. They did so well on all the quizzes, midterms and labs, etc., that each had an “A” so far for the semester. These four friends were so confident that the weekend before finals, they decided to go up to University of Virginia and party with some friends up there. They had a great time. However, after all the partying, they slept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to Duke until early Monday morning. Rather than taking the final then, they decided to find their professor after the final and explain to him why they missed it. They explained that they had gone to UVA for the weekend with the plan to come to study, but, unfortunately, they had a flat tire on the way back, didn’t have a spare, and couldn’t get help for a long time. As a result, they missed the final. The Professor thought it over and then agreed they could make up the final the following day. The guys were elated and relieved. They studied that night and went in the next day at the time the professor had told them. He placed them in separate rooms and handed each of them a test booklet, and told them to begin. They looked at the first problem, worth 5 points. It was something simple about free radical formation. “Cool,” they thought at the same time, each one in his separate room, “this is going to be easy.” Each finished the problem and then turned the page. On the second page was written: (For 95 points): Which tire?
Luke records the discussion that precedes Jesus telling Peter about his denial. Luke tells us that the disciples had been arguing over who was the greatest (Luke 22:24-34). Could Peter have been part of that discussion? It seems so. Perhaps this “vehement” speech of Peter’s was meant to tell Jesus that he was indeed better than all the other disciples.
Do I believe that Peter was sincere in saying he would die for Jesus? Absolutely. Do I think that Peter loved Jesus? Absolutely. Peter’s problem wasn’t a failure of intention or of love. He failed because of the weakness of his flesh, because he was putting his confidence in his flesh.
Paul told us that our sinful nature, our “flesh”, doesn’t have a lot of hope when it comes to doing things that please God.
(Rom 7:18 NLT) I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't.

Trusting in a something that’s broke won’t help you.  Learning to depend more and more on God is the answer.

How do you react when you hear of a strong Christian falling into sin?
Sometimes we can react by thinking that they were sure a jerk. We can think things like, “Well I guess he wasn’t as great as I thought he was.”

I think that response comes from having too much confidence in your own flesh.

Perhaps we ought to be shaking in our boots and be thinking, “If this person can fall, then what kind of a chance does someone like me have?”
(1 Cor 10:12 NKJV) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.