Thursday, January 03, 2008

I am weak but he is strong

The whole of Scripture could be summed up by. "Look at yourself; look at God." We have an opportunity to do just that in Mark 14:53-72.

First "Look at God"

Mark's version of the trial of Jesus is an abbreviated one. We do not the preliminary hearing before Annas, nor the appearance before Herod. The final meeting of the Sanhedrin is condensed to one verse (15:1). But the bones of the case was before Caiaphas, the real power among the Jews and this is what we have here.

There is first false testimony against Jesus. Just as today we get false testimony. Jesus is a freedom fighter. Jesus was one of the Essenes who married Mary Magdalene. Jesus was a magic mushroom. Just as then their testimonies do not agree.

Then there is misinterpretation of what he said. Did he say that he would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days? He certainly said something like that, but it is taken out of context. he was talking about his body which would be struck down then raised in three days. Just like today, we have JWs and Mormons and even Muslims quoting scripture at us, out of context and misinterpreted. And just as then their testimony does not agree.

Finally Caiaphas asks him "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"

Jesus answers, "I am."

Notice how Caiaphas says "Son of the Blessed one" to avoid using the name of God - I am that I am.

Jesus is not afraid, "I am," he replies. Then he quotes from Daniel 7:13 "one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven" and Psalm 110:1 "The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at my right hand " with the implication of Daniel 7:14 " He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

Caiaphas might have fallen on his face to worship him, but he had other plans. He uses this statement to condemn him.

Look at Jesus and we see God in all his power and glory.

Look at ourselves.

In the second half of this passage we look at ourselves through Peter. Don't think that you would have done better. We are very prone to that. When we watch a dropped catch at baseball or a missed punt at football, we are prone to exclaim, "I could have done that!" But could we? Honestly? Peter was a giant among men. Think of his speech in Acts chapter 2. Could you have done that? Peter was a great leader of men. Would you like someone else to represent you?

Yet Peter denied Christ. Not once, but three times, and each time more vehemently. Finally when the slip of a girl accuses him, the big fisherman called down curses on himself and swore, "I don't know this man you are talking about!"

Then the cock crowed.

And Peter wept bitterly as he remembered - not his vain boasting - not his denials - but the words of Jesus.

Have you had a cock-crow moment? A moment when you realized you were in the wrong. The prodigal son's cock crowed when he found himself eating pigswill. Jonah's cock crowed in the belly of a great fish. For some it has found them drunk in a gutter. Others have found themselves splattered over a tabloid newspaper or locked in prison or bankrupted by debtors, or injured by drugs or diagnosed with AIDS.

Pray that it doesn't take any of these to bring you to your knees.

There is a legend that Peter wept every time thereafter that he heard a cock crow. I think it more likely that he praised God. For it is when we are brought low that we recognize our need of God and just as Peter was restored on the beach of Galilee, so the father is watching from the rooftops to welcome us, and when we are far off he will run to greet us and will throw his arms around us and put rings on our fingers and there will be angels rejoicing in heaven.

The grace of God is measureless and free.

The whole of the Gospel is looking at ourselves and seeing a sinner and looking at God and seeing a savior.

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