This last chapter of Mark gives us the empty tomb, the resurrection and two options for an ending to this Gospel.
Peter sure had a lot of faith in himself in this chapter, all of it unwarranted. For example, what’s this?
33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
It’s probably always a bad idea to contradict Jesus. He knows Peter better than Peter knows himself.
Peter is then among those who fall asleep in Gethsemane, after Jesus asked him to watch. Jesus gets it right again. He understands what is really going on.
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Then we have the infamous cutting off the ear of the High priest’s servant. John is the one who names names in John 18:10. The servant was Malchus, the ear-cutter was Peter. Maybe he was trying to make up for falling asleep earlier by showing he was really going to take care of things now. “I got this Lord. Your back is safe with me.”
Then comes the actual denial at the end of the chapter. Matthew explains that Peter denied Christ to not one but two (2) servant girls and then to some bystanders who pointed out that his accent gave him away. He sounded like he was from Galilee, not Jerusalem.
Let’s all be glad that our faith is in Jesus and not in Peter and not in ourselves. Left to ourselves, we and Peter have a lot in common. Our behavior is erratic. Our self-confidence is normally misplaced.
When nobody is looking, we can deliver a pretty good boast. “I’ll never fall away. I’m ready to die at your side.” When push comes to shove, servant girls and random bystanders are more than enough to intimidate us into denial. “Who me? You think I know that guy? Sorry. Never met him.”
Wait, do I hear a rooster?