bible blog 1135

This blog offers a meditation on the Common Lectionary daily readings along with a headline from world news:

Vargas Llosa, Coetzee, Muller, Pamuk and (the late) Heaney, Nobel winners, protest Israeli teatment of Palestinians

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians

Mark 14:66-72

New English Translation (NET)

Peter’s Denials

66 Now while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest’s slave girls came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked directly at him and said, “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it: “I don’t even understand what you’re talking about!” Then he went out to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. 69 When the slave girl saw him, she began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again. A short time later the bystanders again said to Peter, “You must be one of them, because you are also a Galilean.” 71 Then he began to curse, and he swore with an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about!” 72 Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

petukhA famous story, which must have already been legendary when Mark composed his version of it. The motif of the crowing cock is obviously a detail of storytelling rather than history, but the fact remains that the young Christian church celebrated one of its founding evangelists as a betrayer of its Lord. Simon Petros ( in Greek) or Cephas (in Aramaic) is nicknamed “rock” by Jesus (is this an example of Jesus’ humour?) more for what he’ll become than what he is.  His betrayal is pretty abject. I’ve known people say with every sincerity that they might have done better than Peter in that situation. 

Still that’s why the story is told; to show that from the start disciples are far from perfect. Peter after all is at least somewhere near Jesus while the  other disciples have deserted him altogether.  Following the crucified son of God is never easy and will often push people into failure and betrayal. But, as the gospels tell us, the risen Lord comes back to forgive and transform. The nickname Jesus gives us may seem a bit of a joke just now, but through his grace we shall become worthy of it.

When the young church was persecuted, Peter’s story became ever more relevant to its faith and witness.

Christian believers in peaceful democracies, who are not faced with the kind of threat that Peter faced, should  know what it’s like to be a Coptic Christian in Egypt at present, or a house church member in China, or for that matter, a Muslim in Myanmar; and keep solidarity with them.

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