In the last section, we saw two meals contrasted. Now we see two trials contrasted -- the trial of Jesus and the trial of Peter. Because of nature of the material, we need to approach it a little differently.
"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives . . ." (Mark 14:26-72).
Jesus left the upper room with His disciples (v. 26). He had predicted that the disciples would fulfill prophecy by being offended in Him (v. 27). He promised to meet them again after the resurrection (v. 28). Peter hotly denied that he would be offended, but Jesus gave His famous prophecy in return. Peter would have none of it (vv. 29-31). But in Gethsemane, the three stalwarts cannot pray with Jesus, though repeatedly warned (v. 32-42). Judas then arrived with the mob, and after a brief skirmish, Jesus was arrested (vv. 43-52). At the high priest’s house, Jesus was tried but the witnesses did not agree in their accounts. Finally, the high priest adjured the Lord to answer a question. He did and was condemned on that basis (vv.53-65). In the meantime, in the courtyard outside, Peter was not faring well. Just as the Lord had said, he denied the Lord three times (vv. 66-72).
Mark presents us with a stark comparison and contrast of two trials going on simultaneously. Mark is known for his use of irony, and he is clearly the master of it here.
The trial of Jesus was plainly foreshadowed. Throughout Mark, Jesus has been telling His disciples that it would come to this. Peter's collapse was also foreshadowed. Throughout Mark, the disciples have been spiritually dense, and Peter has been their leading representative. This comes to a point in v. 27.
We see parallel lines with regard to prayer. Jesus staggered in prayer, and stood in His trial (v. 34).Peter slept during the time of prayer, and staggered in his trial (v. 38). Jesus prayed three times, and stood once (v. 41). Peter did not pray, and denied the Lord three times (vv. 30, 37).
Jesus was indicted by the high priest -- the Lord was accused by the "retiring" high priest. This is the high priest who tears his robe, thus disqualifying himself (Lev. 10:6). Jesus, on the threshold of His great Priestly work, accuses Peter (v. 30). He is the great High Priest whose body was torn, represented by the veil in the Temple (Mark 15:38; Heb. 10:20).
Jesus was accused by false witnesses, whose lines of evidence diverged. In His trial Jesus is accused by false witnesses, who could not get their stories to agree (v.55-56,59). Peter was accused by true witnesses; the testimony brought against Peter was consistently accurate (v. 67), and the lines of evidence, even that presented by chickens, converged.
The Sanhedrin was made up of men who were sticklers for formality. Don't get this wrong, they were resolved to condemn Jesus. But they had to make the paperwork respectable, and they had trouble doing it (vv. 55-56). The witnesses against Peter were informal -- gate attendant, servant girl, poultry. The prosecution here just comes together. Just regular folks standing around (vv.66, 69-70).
The charge against Christ was that He had blasphemed, but was innocent of the charges (v. 64). He had not. Peter was accused of knowing Jesus, which charge was true, and he reponds by committing blasphemy, denying with oaths and curses that he knew Jesus (vv. 66-72).
Nothing is more evident than that Jesus and Peter were standing trial at the same time. Jesus was falsely convicted, and Peter was falsely acquitted.
Prior to this, Jesus had given His disciples a remarkable encouragement which they all missed (v. 28). The word of God had settled what the disciples would do, all of them (v. 27). Jesus was truly man in His sufferings (vv. 33-35). But during His preparation for His trial, He still sought to help Peter prepare for his trial (v. 38). A young man, probably Mark, flees from the scene, a fitting symbol (vv. 51-52). Placed under oath, Jesus testifies as to His identity (v. 62). The physical abuse of the Lord then began (v. 65).
Peter had denied vehemently that he would do what Jesus said he would do. The other disciples said the same. Judas had already gone off, walking on the feet that Jesus had washed, in order to betray Him. When he identifies the Lord, he does so with a kiss of warm affection (v. 45).
Apart from the grace of God, the Judas in each one of us betrays. Apart from the grace of God, the Peter in us sleeps. But if we sin like Peter; we should learn to repent like Peter. "And when he thought thereon, he wept."