Mark 14:27-31; 66-72
This upper room moment and Peters betrayal is recorded in all 4 gospels. Only John records Peter’s reinstatement. This is a fascinating passage of scripture and has a lot to teach us about our nature and God’s desire for us when we view this from the perspective of Peter and the disciples. However, when we view this narrative from the perspective of Jesus, we see a perfect example of Leading with Love.
Context: Starts in the upper room where Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples for the last time. Later that night he would be arrested by the temple guard and later crucified. Zero in on this moment between Jesus, Peter and the rest of the disciples. Pick this up with Mark’s account: 14:27-31.
Q: Who did Jesus say would abandon him?
A: All if them!
Q: Jesus said some specific things, what is Peter’s argument?
A: Jesus you don’t know me as well as I know myself.
Q: What happens relationally with Peter and the rest of the Disciples and how would it impact his ability to lead them in the future?
A: Broken. How can they follow someone who thinks he is better than they are?
Jesus is arrested, Peter strikes the servant of the High priest, loping off his ear only to have Jesus heal the man and rebuke Peter. As Jesus described, the Disciples take off.
Peter and John follow from a safe distance. Peter makes into the courtyard of the Home of the High Priest where he “blends in” with the other household servants. Again will pick this up in Marks account in 14:66-72. Third time, in case there is any doubt left about the full extent of Peter’s denial, he calls down curses and swears he does not know Jesus. Wow! This is the same guy who only a few hour2 earlier said, “Not me, I’ll even die with you!” Cockcrow was most likely the watchman’s call, from the “cockcrow” shift for Roman solders between 12 am and 3 am. Luke’s account says Jesus was being moved at the same time and actually made eye contact with Peter at the same moment.
Jesus is crucified, the order goes out to round up the disciples and they all hide.
After the resurection, Jesus reveals himself to the disciples on two separate occasions, Peter returns to what he knows, fishing. They have a hard night, not far from shore, and they have no luck. Man on the shore has a fire going and suggests they try the other side of the boat, and jackpot! They catch more fish than they can bring into the boat. Peter wraps his tunic around him and jumps in the water to swim to shore. Jesus feeds them breakfast and Jesus asks Peter some questions. Lets read John’s account in 21:15-17.
Q: All the disciples betrayed him, just like he said they would, so what makes Peter’s denial worse?
A: Peter has broken His relationship with both Jesus and the rest of the desciples.
Q: Jesus gives Peter his name, which means rock and declares, “Upon this rock I will build my community”. What name does Jesus use to address Peter in this conversation?
A: Simon, son of John.
Jesus uses highest form of the word love, Agape. Peter responds with friendship, Philo. I like you or I have affection for you. In the Greek, Jesus refers to lambs, sheep and dear ones.
Q: Why does Jesus use his old name and why does he ask him three times? What does feed my lambs, Sheppard my sheep, and take care of my dear ones mean?
A: Two things are happening here, Jesus is giving him a new calling in light of his first. Second, Jesus is charging him with responsibility, establishing his role, repairing the breach between Peter and the rest of the disciples. Peter responds with a humility that is absent in the upper room. His humility is displayed in front of his friends. Jesus entrusts to Peter ‘s care what He most cares about.
One of Jesus greatest challenges was get his team to function as a team instead of a collection of individuals. In this last interaction we see Jesus leading Peter with great compassion and love. He reinstates Peter with reconciliation, a calling, and challenge in front of his friends.
What did Jesus gain from this exchange personally? Nothing
What did Peter gain? Everything.
This is the power of Leaders when we lead with Love.
PostScript: V. 18 and following, Jesus reveals to Peter that his actions will align with his conviction expressed in the upper room.
To help get us started practically Leading with Love, let’s work on the following exercise together.
Thank you Heather for this fun activity!
Feel free to post comments about our challenge this month as we practice leading with love.