Hope for the Damned
Have you denied the Savior by your lifestyle? Ever deny Him because of your concern for your image in front of friends? “What would they think of me if I refused to take part in their activity?” “What would they say about me?” Perhaps, you even cursed Jesus. Perhaps you are worried that you committed the unpardonable sin? Take hope. Failure is not final for genuine disciples of Jesus. He remains unflinchingly loyal to His own, even when they are disloyal to Him, even when they damn themselves.
Peter: A Poisoned Toad
Peter—puffed up with the gas of self-importance—fueled by an over-inflated opinion of his Bible knowledge and strength, stubbornly refused to listen to Jesus’ sharp warning to him (Mk 14:30). He knew himself better than Jesus did. Peter is the weakest disciple in Mark’s Gospel because of his bloated sense of self-importance. Peter was controlling, unteachable, and proud, swelled up like a poison toad. His favorite indoor sport was to talk about how great he was.
While Jesus is on trial before the high priest, the most powerful leader in the nation (Mk 14:53-65), Peter is also on trial at the very same time in the same house (Mk 14:66-72). Two trials. Jesus is falsely accused, but tells the truth of His identity, putting Himself in death’s way. Peter, tried by a powerless female slave, twice lies about his identity to protect his image, and then collapses.
Mark shows Jesus to be the Lamb who is truly unblemished, spotless before His priestly examiners (1 Peter 1:19), even when lied about by false witnesses. Mark also shows us that even religious people, men and women like Peter, who have read Jesus’ words, heard Him teach, watched Him perform miracles, are still weak sinners at best. They, too, need a dying substitute, a lamb unblemished, whose sacrificial death can bring them to God (1 Peter 3:18).
Peter Damns Himself
Severely weakened by religious pride and an exaggerated view of his faith, and already having denied knowing Jesus twice, when questioned a thied time, Peter put himself under a curse—“Let me be damned [to hell if I know this man]” (Mk 14:71). Peter employed the same word Paul used twice in Galatians 1:8-9, of the final destination of those who were proclaiming a different Gospel: απναθεματίζειν—a curse resulting in damnation. Peter damns himself.
Then, adding insult to injury, Peter took an oath (like witnesses in court swear to tell the truth) to assure his listeners that he was telling the truth: “I swear that I do not know Jesus.” Ironic. Peter previously boasted that even if everyone else abandoned Jesus, the Lord could count on him to remain faithful (Mk 14:29). He viewed himself as a little Messiah—a Messiah complex. He alone would stand by Jesus. Pride blinds us to our weaknesses. Pride goes before a fall.
Hope for Peter
Then—fulfilling Jesus’ fateful prediction—the rooster crowed a second time (Mk 14:72). Peter’s lapsed memory then awoke. He remembered Jesus’ prediction. He rushed out, sobbing violently, deeply overcome by the grief and shame accompanying true repentance: έπιβαλών έκλαιεν. Mark shows us that there is hope for Peter. His grief and shame are marks of genuine repentance (2 Cor. 7:13).
Despite his humiliating public failure, damning himself, becoming an “unfollower” of Jesus—all due to his religious pride—the Savior remained unflinchingly loyal to Peter.
On resurrection morning, the young man at the tomb told the two Marys and Salome: “Go, tell His disciples and Peter: He is going ahead of you into Galilee.” (Mk 16:7)
Failure is Not Final
Mark is teaching us that everyone needs a crucified and resurrected Savior to come to God, even proud, baptized, Bible-reading, church-attending people. And, he also is encouraging us about our pride-induced failures. Failure, humiliating failure, even shameful failure, is not fatal or final for true followers of Jesus. He remains unflinchingly loyal to them. Jesus is not only God’s unblemished Lamb, He is also our faithful High Priest, intervening on our behalf.
Jesus Can Save the Damned
Have you failed Jesus? Denied Him? Cursed Him? Walked away from Him? Ashamed of Him? Did you damn yourself?
Why not come back to Him now? If He remained loyal to arrogant Peter, He will remain loyal to you. Start following him today. As the young man at the tomb said to the women—whom God used to restore the disciples—"He is going ahead of you.” Let Jesus go ahead of you. Follow behind Him (Mk 8:33). Your failure is not final. You may have damned yourself, but Jesus can save the damned. He saved Peter. He remains unflinchingly loyal to His own.
Thank you for reading.
 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a while—yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”