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Mark 252 - Separation

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

Mark 14:69-71

We are a separated people. Divided about everything. Politics. Religion. The economy. Race. Hatred. And a whole lot more than I have room for to list. Yet, everyone, and I mean everyone agrees on one thing. On this one thing, we are in total harmony.

Things are getting worse. Things are not getting better. Things are not even standing still. Things, and when I say things, I mean everything, is getting worse.

We’re in a spiral that’s going down and down. We seem to have gone off a cliff and are falling head over heels. We’ve lost our way. We’ve lost our roadmap. We’ve lost our compass.

It doesn’t seem to matter that we have all this technology. All this information. All these capabilities. And yet, things continue to go from bad to worse. In some ways, these things that should be making things better only make it worse.

And although we know things are getting worse, we can’t seem to do a thing about it. Like sand slipping through our fingers, we’re unable to slow it down. Even with our best efforts, we can’t seem to stop the bleeding.

This is exactly where Peter is. Or, should I say, where Peter has put himself. While he followed Jesus to see what was going to happen, he was identified by a young servant girl. And when she spoke, he quickly denied it and bolted out of there.

Now, things just get worse. This same young servant girl sees him again and repeats her accusation. He denied it again.

Finally, all hell breaks loose when the people standing around say that he is “one of them.” These bystanders say that he’s part of “that” crowd. He’s not one of us, he’s one of “them.” Peter’s not only one of “them” but he’s all alone. None of the other “thems” are around. He’s deserted on an island of isolation. So, what’s his strategy? What’s his defense?

He put himself under a curse, saying that if he was one of “them” – part of that Jesus crowd, that God should condemn him to hell. He then swore a sacred oath that he wasn’t one of “them.” There’s no way that he’s friends with Jesus or “them.”.

Peter was so afraid that he was willing to go all out to deny Jesus. Funny, didn’t Peter say that he would go all out for Jesus? That he would be willing to die for him?

What happened? What made Peter change his mind? Two things.

  • First – Peter wasn’t all that committed to Jesus in the first place. Yes, he’d been with Jesus for three years or so. But that had been through all the good times. The times of preaching. Teaching. Miracles. Crowds cheering. But now, times were different.

  • Second – Pressure from that young servant girl, someone who had no political, social, or economic power was enough to push him to the edge. And then when others joined in, Peter jumped over the cliff and into denial.

Who or what are the things that people do to push our buttons? Whose approval do we long for? And if we don’t get it, what are we willing to say to get it? What will we do to get it?

We can talk a good game. We can brag that we can stand alone against the crowd. But in the end, we want them. We need them. We can’t stand to be alone. We have to be part of the crowd.

So, this is when it gets personal. Who or what crowd do you need to be part of? And not just any crowd, but the crowd that you want to be a part of? The crowd that you want to be identified with?. The crowd that you want to want you?

What are you willing to sacrifice to be part of that crowd? What are you willing to do? What are you willing to say? What are you willing to be silent for?

Jesus never denied his own. No matter the cost he always, always, always identifies and stands up for his people. His friends. His followers. For you. For me.

To make it even more relevant and personal. Jesus has never, and will never be separated from you. He’ll never leave you.

For God has said, “I will never, never fail you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:5

And that promise is for you.


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