Scripture: Mark 14:27-42
Key verses: (27-29) “And Jesus said to them, ‘You will all become deserters…but after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’ Peter said to him, ‘Even though all become deserters, I will not’”
Reflection: Sometimes titles can be misleading. If you were to open the NRSV Bibles our church has in our pews and turn to this story, you would find that the editors have placed the title “Peter’s Denial Foretold” just above this story. Of course, Jesus does foretell Peter’s denial in dramatic fashion here, and Peter responds in protest along with the other disciples present. They dig in their heels and insist that they will never deny Jesus. They will die with him, but they will never desert him, they say.
They are so busy refuting this claim of their impending infidelity that they miss the rest of what Jesus says in the exchange. All they hear is “you will all become deserters” and they begin to mount their defense, missing the promise Jesus extends to them. “You will all become deserters,” says Jesus, “but after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Not only is this story really a foretelling of Jesus’ resurrection (and not just Peter’s denial!), but it is an affirmation that the disciples journey with Jesus is only just beginning. Though they will desert him, he will not desert them. In fact, he is going on ahead of them to Galilee – the implication being that he expects to meet them there, to be in relationship and ministry with them beyond the drama of the cross. There will be life – and life together – on the other side.
That is the promise of resurrection. There will be life – and life together – with God, despite our best efforts to desert the way. For in Christ, we have seen that God is committed to us. God continues to call us. God walks ahead of us to beckon us into a future we could not have possibly imagined, to engage in a mission we would have otherwise missed.
Prayer: We trust that you are faithful to us, O God, even when we are unfaithful to you. Help me to cling to the promise of resurrection this, and every, day. Amen.
Author: Anna Dickson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].