Faithlife Sermons

Struggling Faith

The Gift of Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

A. When Reality Doesn’t Match the Plan

“Be Prepared” is the motto made famous by Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts, in his 1908 book Scouting for Boys. Baden-Powell explained this broad statement to mean that “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”
The apostle Peter was one whose plan did not end up matching reality. His best intentions of exhibiting faithfulness to Jesus fell apart when the moment of crisis came. His struggle remains an enduring caution.

B. Lesson Background

After Jerusalem fell in 586 BC, the people of the southern kingdom of Judah found themselves in dire straits. Even after their return from Babylonian exile, the Jews were subjected to the whims of evil rulers and foreign powers who sought to impose conformity to their own pagan outlook.
Numerous biblical and nonbiblical accounts reveal how the people of God reacted to such trying circumstances. One biblical account is that of Daniel, who survived in a lion’s den when he refused to pray to Darius, the king of Persia (). One nonbiblical example is that of eight devout Jews—seven brothers and their mother—choosing to undergo torture and death rather than capitulate to pagan demands ().
Persecutions for faith continued into the first century AD. In Mark’s Gospel, two such trials of faith stand out—one official and the other unofficial. The official one was that of the trials and crucifixion of Jesus. The unofficial one was that of the bystanders’ confrontation of Peter while proceedings against Jesus were underway. Peter’s failure is the subject of today’s lesson.

I. To the Mount of Olives

A. Supper Ends (v. 26)

Mark 14:26 ESV
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

B. Jesus Predicts (vv. 27, 28)

Mark 14:27–28 ESV
27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”

C. Peter Counters (v. 29)

Mark 14:29 ESV
29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”

D. Jesus Specifies (v. 30)

Mark 14:30 ESV
30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

E. Peter Vows (v. 31)

Mark 14:31 ESV
31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
Mark 14:

II. At the Place of Trial

A. First Confrontation (vv. 66–68)

Mark 14:66–68 ESV
66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed.

B. Second Confrontation (vv. 69, 70a)

Mark 14:69–70 ESV
69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
Mark 14:69-70

C. Third Confrontation (vv. 70b–72)

Mark 14:70–72 ESV
70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Conclusion

A. Gospels’ Variations

B. Hubris and Redemption

C. Prayer

Father, grant us victory over both pride and fear through the strength of your Holy Spirit. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

D. Thought to Remember

Find strength in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Find strength in the power of the Holy Spirit.
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