The Illusion Of Pride

The Illusion Of Pride: Mark 14:26-31
Pastor John Nicholas
Sunday May 9, 2021

Here is the hard teaching of Jesus. A story of prophesied failure of Peter and the other disciples. This night began as a celebration but then the call of betrayal. Told that one of their own would betray their Rabbi. That one of their own would sell him out to the those who sought to kill him. One of their own who was seeking the type of king he wanted. Not a king of Godly origin. But a king that would conquer and restore the Jews to their rightful place.

The new covenant has been inaugurated with the bread and the wine. A covenant which the attendees won’t understand for a number of days.

Buoyed high with the celebration of the new covenant they head out from the upper room. You could almost sense the confidence. Jesus has been on a whirlwind tour of upsetting things in Jerusalem. The triumphant entry, the overturning of the tables. There was no sense of what was going to happen.

Today we will see the lies and mistruths that are sown by pride in the life of those who follow Jesus.

They were singing hymns as they went. The Hallel praises. Those hymns that would celebrate how God saved the Israelites. The Talmud tells us that these are Psalms 113-118. Turn in your bibles to Psalm 118 and listen to what it say. Look specifically at v22, the rejected stone becomes the cornerstone. A prophetic word about the Messiah. As Peter will say in Acts 4:11, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is this cornerstone.

Mark 14:26 (NASB)
26 And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Psalm 118 (NASB)
Thanksgiving for the Lord’s Saving Goodness.
1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His mercy is everlasting.

2 Let Israel say,
“His mercy is everlasting.”

3 Oh let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy is everlasting.”

4 Let those who fear the Lord say,
“His mercy is everlasting.”

5 From my distress I called upon the Lord;
The Lord answered me and put me in an open space.

6 The Lord is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

7 The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in people.

9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
Than to trust in noblemen.

10 All nations surrounded me;
In the name of the Lord I will certainly fend them off.

11 They surrounded me, yes, they surrounded me;
In the name of the Lord I will certainly fend them off.

12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were extinguished like a fire of thorn bushes;
In the name of the Lord I will certainly fend them off.

13 You pushed me violently so that I was falling,
But the Lord helped me.

14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

15 The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the Lord performs valiantly.

16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord performs valiantly.

17 I will not die, but live,
And tell of the works of the Lord.

18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,
But He has not turned me over to death.

19 Open the gates of righteousness to me;
I will enter through them, I will give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
The righteous will enter through it.

21 I will give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.

22 A stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This came about from the Lord;
It is marvelous in our eyes.

24 This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let’s rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Please, O Lord, do save us;
Please, O Lord, do send prosperity!

26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.

27 The Lord is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice to the horns of the altar with cords.

28 You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I exalt You.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His mercy is everlasting.

Acts 4:8-12 (NASB)
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,
9 if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well,
10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health.
11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone.
12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved.”

Now the men move beyond the location of the Passover meal. Heading to the Mount of Olives. The destination – Gethsemane, a garden at the base of the Mt. of Olives. Gethsemane – meaning oil press. Where Christ will be pressed to the point of sweating blood. This small journey sets the stage for what is to come. All with Him will be affected by the events that will happen.

Yet at this moment their spirits are high.

3. The hard teaching of Jesus
v27 – the prophecy from the OT – Zechariah 13:7

Mark 14:27 (NASB)
27 And Jesus *said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

Zechariah 13 (NASB)
False Prophets Ashamed
1 “On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for defilement.

2 “And it will come about on that day,” declares the Lord of armies, “that I will eliminate the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.

3 And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, because you have spoken falsely in the name of the Lord’; and his father and mother who gave birth to him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.

4 Also it will come about on that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive;

5 but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a cultivator of the ground, because a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’

6 And someone will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded at the house of my friends.’

7 “Awake, sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the Man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of armies.
“Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will be scattered;
And I will turn My hand against the little ones.

8 And it will come about in all the land,”
Declares the Lord,
“That two parts in it will be cut off and perish;
But the third will be left in it.

9 And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

The celebratory hymn is done. The journey, in so many ways is coming to an end. Gethsemane is in front of them. The joy of a completed Passover meal is at an end. The last shadow of the true event that we happen in about 12 hours. The Passover that saves all who know Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is certainly on Jesus’ mind. Hence the prophecy that is to come.

Speaking from Zechariah (13:7), Jesus states that when the shepherd is killed the sheep will scatter. We must remember that the sheep are fully dependent upon the shepherd. We see that evidence in Psalm 23, where it is the shepherd who guides the sheep to water and food. It is the shepherd who protects the sheep. It is shepherd who lifts the injured sheep and binds and cares for its wounds. It is the shepherd who guards the fold against the lions, bears, and wolves.

Psalm 23 (NASB)
The Lord, the Psalmist’s Shepherd.
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd,
I will not be in need.

2 He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.

3 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For the sake of His name.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

6 Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life,
And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.

Leveraging on this scripture of all of Zechariah 13, it is a passage about cleansing the nation of sin. The fountain is opened to cleanse the nation of impurity and idolatry. Fascinating that this is the passage that Jesus is referencing. A passage of cleansing. Verse 9 tells us that he will bring the remainder through the fire and they will be refined.

Notice how Jesus’ quotation indicates that God will strike the shepherd. It is all part of His divine providence. And the scattering of the sheep. The followers. They will be shocked by the events that will occur. They will be devastated by the brutality of the treatment of their rabbi. They will be strained intensely by the upcoming events and they will fall. They are upheld, right now, by their shepherd. He is the one who guides and protects. When He is struck they will fall.

This was not in their plans. Even though He had previously warned them.

Pride will keep them from understanding the truth of the situation

b. the Glorious Resurrection v28

Mark 14:28 (NASB)
28 But after I am raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

Now there is an interesting turn of the phrase. He had been speaking about God striking the shepherd but now, notice how he says that He will be raised. The disciples looking, listening, in amazement perhaps. This Jesus is talking about Himself. That He will be the shepherd that is struck. How many times has he told them that this will happen? “I am the shepherd that will be struck. I am the shepherd who brings forth the fountain of cleansing. That fountain in the fountain of my blood that will cleanse those who believer.”

Jesus is definitively saying that He is that shepherd and that He will be raised. This raising denotes arising from the earth. He has been struck down to the earth, the God Man, the one who came from the heavenly realms, has been struck to the ground. And his blood, that marvelous cleansing fountain, has flowed into the ground. And will be raised from the earth (and seated back in the heavenly realm).

That the scattering will occur, but there will be glorious resurrection. This is one of those great conjunctions in the scripture, in God’s word. But… That conjunction points to a miracle that will happen that is singular in its focus and its magnificence.

Jesus has just stated that they will be scattered to the wind, like sheep without a shepherd. With no guidance, alone, but do not fear, after my resurrection I will return to the place where my ministry began. Repent and believe in the good news. That is where you will find me.

Don’t lose heart, like before, I have told you everything in advance. But there is more to come.
4. The Bravado of the head disciple
a. Peter’s hubris v29

Mark 14:29 (NASB)
29 But Peter said to Him, “Even if they all fall away, yet I will not!”

Peter full of bravado and hubris claims that he alone will be left standing. That he alone is the only one among them that has the wherewithal to stand when the shepherd is struck. He is the one that is their leader and he will stand in that place to guide them. That is what Peter is saying. He has followed the shepherd so closely and knows the truth so well that there is no way he can fall. Peter believes that he is standing on a firm foundation, but, in reality, he has no idea how shaky the ground is upon which he stands.

You see Peter’s foundation, here, is within himself. It is found within his power. He is speaking from a prideful position. One where he has the ability to affect the outcome. One where he alone will stand as the model of a disciple. A true believer. He believes that he is not like the rest, that he has strength that the others don’t have.

So quickly Peter has forgotten what Jesus had said earlier in Luke 22:31-32. That Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat. That Peter would be tested. And this is the test that is coming.

Luke 22:31-32 (NASB)
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to sift you men like wheat;
32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail; and you, when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter is full of pride. He is the strong one. He was at the Mt. of Transfiguration. He walked on the water with Jesus (even though he sank a bit).

He is a man full of pride and self confidence.

Pride keeps Peter believing in his strength rather than relying of Jesus

b. Christ’s hard prophecy for Peter v30

Mark 14:30 (NASB)
30 And Jesus *said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.”

i. Not only will Peter deny Him once, but three times
In full color Jesus tells Peter how far he will fall. That the events of tonight will lead him to decisions that will be shocking to the bravado he is expressing. Jesus tells him that this will all occur within a prescribed period. God’s providence is still on display. God uses the means to an end.

These same men had been sent out by Jesus. They had cast out demons, they had healed. Yes Jesus had corrected them at times. But they were chosen by Him. Perhaps they felt they were better than the rest. Peter had, after all, testified that Jesus was the Messiah. Confidence was brimming over.

Yet, all was not as it seemed to be.

There was more at play here than could meet the eye.

ii. Peter will be the model of the fallen believer

Peter will deny Christ of his own accord. There is no chance that Peter is acting against his own will but instead, he will be acting entirely within his desire. That his denial of Christ will be what he wants to do at that time. The pressure to deny Him will be easier than to claim that he knows him. The ease of which to fade away and not stand are far more appealing that what could possibly happen, especially after what he will see that is happening to Jesus. What will happen to Peter will be set in contrast to how Peter thinks that he will react.

But remember, Satan asked to sift Peter, and Jesus’ response was that he would intercede for him via prayer. Jesus has interceded for Peter. It is not by the power of Peter’s faith that he will be redeemed but it will be the object of Peter’s faith – Jesus.

5. The denial of their weakness
a. Peter’s emphatic declaration v31

Mark 14:31 (NASB)
31 But Peter repeatedly said insistently, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all were saying the same thing as well.

Peter, full of pride, denies what Jesus is saying. I will stand and I will die if necessary with you. Faced the prophecy of Christ Peter does not see how he could possibly do this. Peter emphatically denies this. Claiming that he would gladly die with Jesus. He is full of pride and confidence.
b. The disciples pile on too v31

And the others hop on the claim too. They don’t want to be left out, and their pride in full in full display.They don’t want to be left out. They are worthy, in their own eyes. They could never deny their rabbi. They would go to death with Him.

At this point it seems to be obvious that they have no idea what is truly coming. They can’t imagine the scourging or the brutality of the cross. None of them wants to be ‘that guy’ the one who didn’t stand with Jesus. And it is easy for them to affirm these things now. They had a nice meal. Fellowship. Even if there was talk about one who would betray Jesus. They just finished singing the victory hymns. A pleasant walk in evening to the place where Jesus taught the Olivet Discourse.

They are full of confidence because even though they have been told what will happen they don’t understand. The fall will be great for all of them but most of all for Peter. Peter will fall a distance that we can’t imagine. Were it not for the intercession of Jesus he would not have survived.

Peter will deny, deny to the point of cursing Jesus. Peter will do the unthinkable. And it is certainly not even in the realm of possibility for him.

How can they hear Jesus saying this and not believe Him? Do they think he is kidding around? Maybe they are shocked that He is saying this about them? We just don’t know. But we do know that they are vehemently denying that this will happen.

They don’t understand how truly weak they are without Christ. They don’t understand how that it is only through the Shepherd that they are able to stand right now. They don’t understand how necessary it is for them to be dependent on Him. When He is gone… it leads to their scattering.

John 18:3-6 (NASB)
3 So Judas, having obtained the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, *came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
4 Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, came out into the open and *said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”
5 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.
6 Now then, when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

When the soldiers come shortly it will surprise them. There will be between 500-1000 men that come to arrest Jesus, their rabbi. It will quickly become overwhelming by the speed and rapidity that it occurs. It will be like a great wave that washes over them. Taking them unprepared for the battering that their pride will take. It was easy for them to stand under the protection of Jesus, but, when that is taken away they won’t have a leg to stand on.

You see, it is Jesus that allows them to have this confidence. It is Jesus who gives them strength. That they fall will be important for their preparation for the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The wave will threaten to wash them away, but they do not realize that they are still anchored by Jesus, even when they are in danger of being swept away.

Jesus has told them all they need to know. He has told them what will happen. He has told Peter that not only will he be sifted, but he will be restored. And that restoration will allow him to strengthen the others (Luke 22:32)

Pride keeps them from seeing and understanding their fallen nature

We must always remember that this is Peter recalling the events of this day.

From a place of knowing who Jesus really is.

From a place knowing the way things really were

He certainly does not paint himself in a good light. But shows the truth of the situation. Complete with his sincere desire to be the one who does not deny Christ. Remember, when he says these words he is not faking it. Peter truly believes that he will be able to stand under the weight that is coming.

Peter and his fellow disciples were boldly proclaiming that they would stand with Jesus and go, if necessary, to death with Him

I mean Thomas said this exact thing in John 11:16
“Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”

John 11:16 (NASB)
16 Therefore Thomas, who was called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s also go, so that we may die with Him!”

Bold proclamations

Bold proclamations by men who think they are standing on solid ground

They were warned what would befall them

They were told what would happen

They boldly proclaimed, to their Rabbi – Jesus, that He was wrong

That He couldn’t be talking about them

They were much too strong

They were much too wise

They had it all together

But fall they did

And none further than Peter

Blinded by pride

Blinded by his confidence

Perhaps even beating his chest to show how strong he was

And then he ends up Cursing Jesus

Pride makes us believe in things that aren’t necessarily true

There is a warning in there too for us

Maybe we are taking our walk with Christ for granted

Maybe we feel we are a good person

Maybe we are working to put to death sin in our lives

Maybe we are toying around with certain behaviors that are not Godly

Maybe we think we are stronger than we are

That we can stand confident before the Lord

Listen to the reminders that Paul gives the Corinthians

Paul speaks to this too in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12
For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;
2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 and all ate the same spiritual food;
4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play.”
8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.
9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.
10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.

Pride makes us believe in ourselves and our strength, that we can do it on our own

Maybe we should here these passages as a warning for us too

That we should not be over confident in our walk

But that we should be working on our walk with Jesus everyday

Listen to the words of Peter the one who fell furthest:

In 1 Peter 5:8 -11
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen

Don’t play with sin
Don’t play at your faith

Take it seriously

Pride can keep us from seeing and knowing the truth about our fallen condition and our need of Jesus as our savior

There are only two locations at the end

As Paul says in Philippians 2:1213 – we are to work out our faith with fear and trembling

Philippians 2:12-13 (NASB)
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;
13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure.

Perhaps things in our lives are not what they seem to be on the outside

Therefore we should take our walk with all seriousness and soberness

This is not a dress rehearsal

This life is not play acting

In a humble manner

Not standing on our own

As those who are poor of spirit, Matthew 5:3, fully dependent on God for everything

Matthew 5:3 (NASB)
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

We must keep our eyes off of ourselves and to keep them focused on Jesus.

As Paul says to know nothing but Christ Crucified

Pray, Observe, Apply.

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