The text for this lesson is Mark 14:26–72.
- Though we, like Peter, deny Jesus and His gifts, Jesus cannot deny us because we are part of Him, baptized members of His own Body. Instead, He forgives us and welcomes us back.
- Law: To deny Jesus is to commit spiritual suicide.
- Gospel: Even when I deny Him, Jesus will never turn His back on me, never refuse me, and never stop loving me.
- Often we call this day “Palm Sunday” and celebrate by adorning the church with palms and processing. Yet this Sunday is also called the Sunday of the Passion, and in most churches around the world, the full Passion account from one of the Gospels is read during the service (in Mark’s Gospel, it would include chapters 14–15). What is the “Passion,” and why is it commemorated in this way? How does this fit with the celebration of palms and Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1–11)?
- What do you think of Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial (Mark 14:26–31)? Is Jesus setting Peter up for an “I told you so”? What are we to think of Peter’s emphatic refusal to believe Jesus’ prediction?
- Read the descriptions of Jesus being distressed, sorrowful, and praying that “this cup” be removed from Him (vv. 33–36). When Jesus faced the devil in the desert after His Baptism, He is confident and unwavering, countering each temptation with the Word of God (Luke 4:1–13). But here He seems less sure of Himself, and certainly more shaken. Does this bother you? Does it make you wonder if Jesus ever wavered in the face of temptation? How does the text actually reassure us that no such wavering occurs?
- Look at Mark 14:42–52 again. What is similar about verses 42 and 50? Who has betrayed Jesus and who remained supporting Him?
- The next section is verses 53–65, Jesus’ trial. Although there are no witnesses for the defense, even the “prosecuting” witnesses are unable to accuse Him justly. They can only bear “false witness against Him” (v. 56). Yet there is one nearby who could witness for Him. What does this potential witness do? Who is the only one, finally, who can testify on Jesus’ behalf?
- Finally, we have the account of Peter’s denial (vv. 66–72). Who challenges him? What threat do they really present to Peter? What does this show us about Peter’s state here at the end of the trial?
- Look again at the account of Jesus praying (vv. 32–41). What does Jesus’ prayer teach us about our own life of prayer?
- Read Luke 12:8–9. What does Jesus say here about those who deny Him? Read the verses that follow (vv. 10–12). What can we rely on to save us from our denials and failures?