Thursday, December 10, 2015

Touching Base, Part 290

13 Dec 15
Series: What Would Peter Preach at Christmas? Part 1
Down... But Not Out!
(Mark 14:53-72)

This three-part series will help us look at some of the key prophetic texts that Peter would have been aware of concerning the coming of the Messiah. In 1 Peter 1:10-12 we see that Peter is very much aware of OT prophetic texts that spoke of the coming of the Messiah. We encourage you to use this tool in your Life Groups, and in your personal God time as a resource to help you pray and interact with the Word of God!

With some biblical texts we have more of a heart, and emotional connection than others. Think of the text that was read at a funeral of a loved one. Or perhaps a verse someone gave you when walking through a difficult season. Perhaps when you were a child you memorized a text that is embedded in your memory to this day. Certain texts bring back memories, emotion and certain places in our backstory.

In your groups, share that unique verse in your life in you have one.

In our series, “What Would Peter Preach at Christmas”, I think one prophetic text that might surface for Peter above others is Daniel 7:13-14. Why? My guess is that it is a text that would remind him of a place, and powerful emotion. Let me explain.

The Context: Mark 14:53-72

It is in this context that we find a reference to Daniel 7:13,14. Most of us know the context - Jesus has been arrested, the Jewish council is quickly and corruptly trying to get a case against Him. They are even stirring up false witnesses. The drama reaches its emotional apex in 61-63.

Note the sounds (v.63)… the high priest was ripping mad. Why would the high priest tear his garments?

By tearing his clothes, probably his inner garments rather than his official robes, the high priest showed that he regarded Jesus’ bold declaration as blasphemy. To him, Jesus’ words dishonored God by claiming rights and powers belonging exclusively to God.

What did Jesus say? (V61-62)
Jesus unequivocally answered, “I am.” No, not “I am Canadian!”
I am … the Christ – “Christ” means Messiah, the anointed One.
I am… the Son of the Blessed . The title “Blessed One,” found in this sense only here in the New Testament, is a Jewish substitute for “God”.

But then, note what Jesus says in v.62 after he says “I am”. Jesus did not refer to Himself as “a son of man,” but as “the Son of Man.” Jesus’ use of the phrase with the definite article “the” is consistent throughout the gospels.

How does the definite article make the difference? The definite article refers to a person, place or thing that is unique. Notice what Jesus says to clarify this definite article … “seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

What does Jesus do?
By using the definite article, Jesus was directing attention to the divine-human figure prophesied in Daniel 7:13–14 that they, as Jews, would know about. I am that Son of Man! That Son of Man that has eternal sovereignty over everything. The reason the high priest was ripping mad was because of what Jesus was claiming.

(It seems that Jesus is also referring to Psalm 110:1 when he speaks of being at the right hand of Power. The right hand was reference to authority and honor. Perhaps you can drill down deeper into this text. I think Peter would also preach this text!)

So why do I think Peter might preach this text and the larger story at Christmas? Well let me ask another question. Where is Peter while Jesus is on trial? What is Peter busy doing? Do you see the contrast?

Peter did the exact opposite of Christ.

• We see Jesus declaring His identity which leads to His death. You have Peter denying his
identity that leads to his shame.
• We see Jesus filled with courage, Peter controlled by fear.
• We see Jesus answering with integrity. Peter is lying and betraying his integrity.
• We see Jesus being faithful. Peter is being faithless.
• We see Jesus sticking with His mission that would bless the world. We see Peter thinking
of himself.

Imagine Peter finding out later what Jesus was doing at almost the precise moment he was denying Christ? He would never read Daniel 7:13-14 the same way again. It would stir emotion and memories and he would think of where he was and what he was doing when Jesus was drawing on this prophetic text to declare His identity.

But here is another twist to this story. Within just a few days, Peter would discover that the Son of Man would reach into his own broken, defeated life and restore him. This prophetic text was not just intellectual fodder, academic fiber, but heart-healing truth, hope-giving words, a life-nurturing text, a mind-blowing reality.

He is the Messiah, the Son of God/Blessed, Son of Man - Thus no breach is beyond God’s reach.

This is the story of Christmas. God reaches into a fallen world, not just a fallen Peter - we have all fallen - and through Jesus, God reaches to us in our powerlessness and redeems, restores, and heals. He is the Messiah, Son of God, the Son of Man!

Take time to read the Christmas story and thank God that in Christ, God reaches out to us in our brokenness to restore. He can because He is the Messiah, Son of God, the Son of Man!

Mark Kotchapaw

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