Chapter 45

When the rooster crows
Mark 14:53-72 (NKJV)

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53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. 56 For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. 57 Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, 58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 But not even then did their testimony agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 “You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. 65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.

66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” 71 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” 72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.

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Mark 14:53-65
Trumped up charges

Peter follows the arresting mob from afar as they lead Jesus to the high priest.  He warms himself with the servants in the courtyard. Meanwhile, the first unlawful hearing takes place designed to find Jesus guilty. The death penalty must be exacted, though it is constitutionally impossible in Roman jurisdiction to hear Jewish charges! Again, the religious leaders lead the prejudiced injustice. The high priest and Sanhedrin (their council), seeking to kill Jesus, cannot establish any case even by their own perverted standards of justice. No two witnesses can be made to agree, and all are false. Even twisting Jesus’ earlier figurative words, when He prophesied His resurrection, achieves nothing. Even their tailor-made, trumped-up evidence cannot be falsely corroborated!

So the high priest assumes the prosecutor’s role, attacking Jesus for maintaining silence. Jesus refuses to answer the corrupt witnesses. However, when the high priest asks directly, Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?, Jesus will not deny it. He says I am (‘I AM’ is an Old Testament name for God[1])  and confirms that He, the Son of Man, will come again sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven. Led by the high priest, they now find Him guilty of blasphemy: Jesus has claimed deity by His own words. They sentence Him to death, again completely unconstitutionally. Physical abuse follows. Jesus is spat upon, blindfolded, beaten, and ridiculed. Even the officers slap Him.

Consider this. Jesus is spotless, righteous and innocent. He suffers all this for sinners like you and me. His death on the cross in our place is for our sins.

Mark 14:66-72
Pathetic Peter

The high priest’s servant girl recognises Peter, warming himself at the fireside of his Master’s enemies. She identifies Peter, first to him and then to bystanders. Twice Peter denies it. The rooster crows after the first denial. Has Peter forgotten that Jesus said after three denials the rooster will crow a second time? He will soon hear the rooster crow again. Soon after his earlier denials he is challenged at the fire again, as some insist he is one of them, betrayed by his Galilean accent.  Peter dishonestly rejects their allegations—now denying Christ for the third time—and starts to curse and swear and specifically mentioning Jesus in his wretched latest denial. He adds to his oaths, I do not know this Man of whom you speak. The rooster crows the second time. Pathetic Peter hears it, recalling the words of his denied Lord, Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times. He is broken. We read, when he thought about it, he wept. But are these tears of self-pitying remorse, or of deep hearted repentance for sin? The difference is huge. [2] We can confuse being sorry for ourselves with being sorry for our sins. Repentance requires sorrow for sins, not just for self! But for Peter, by God’s amazing grace, true repentance—and a changed life—will follow later.

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[1]    .  Exodus 3:14.
[2]   .  Judas, for example, was full of remorse. He never repented. Remorse centres on a sinner being sorry for himself and the hurtful consequences of his wrongdoing . Repentance goes further. The sinner is sorry for his sin and turns from it to God. See Matthew 27:3 and compare it with 2 Corinthians 7:10.

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Questions on Chapter 45
Mark 14:53-72 When the rooster crows.

A. What injustices against Jesus are there here?  Did Jesus complain? Do you ever complain?   Mark 14:57-59, 62-64, 65

B. What causes Peter to fall in the way that he does at this time?   Mark 14:54   Mark 14:66-71

C. Why do you think Peter weeps? Contrast mere remorse with the Bible’s teaching about real repentance and its effects.  Mark 14:72   Hebrews 12:17   2 Corinthians 7:10   2 Peter 3:9