Lesson 20--“A Trial and Denial”--Mark 14:53-72
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context: Read Mark 14:48-15:5 to help understand the context of this passage. Read Mark 14:53-72 in a more literal or more dynamic version than you usually use. Also, read Daniel 7:13-14 (v. 62).
1. ID: (14:51-54) Identify the details and inferences in these verses that help establish the setting for this next section. How has Peter distinguished himself from most of the disciples so far?
2. ID: (14: 53-65) What aspects of Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin does Mark emphasize?
3. CR: (14:55-59) Which teaching(s) of Christ are being alluded to by the witnesses? (John 2:18-22; Mark 15:27-32) Why did their testimony need to agree? (Deuteronomy 17:6-7; John 8:15-17) How did Jesus initially respond to the high priest’s questions? When (why) did Jesus respond?
4. ID/CR/WS: (14:60-64) What did the high priest understand Jesus to claim for himself? What Old Testament Scriptures did Jesus reference to clarify that claim? (Psalm 110:1-2; Daniel 7:13-14) What is the significance of the title “son of man?”
5. ID/CR: (14: 65) What prophecy was fulfilled in verse sixty-five?
6. ID: (14:66-71) Who challenged Peter as a follower of Jesus? What details (included and left out) of the conversations and his movements are especially significant or noteworthy?
7. CR: (14: 72) What did Peter remember when the rooster crowed? (Mark 14:29-31) What was Peter’s response? What had Jesus told Peter that could be an encouragement to him at this time? (Luke 22:31-34)
The WALK: What should I do?
1. Think back to Mark 14:27-40 when Peter protests the possibility he would deny Christ and fails to “watch and pray.” Do you think a humble attitude, prayer, and a watchful spirit might have helped him?
2. What are the warnings, encouragements, and lessons for us in this narrative about Peter?
3. Is it ever enough to “follow Jesus at a distance?”
4. What does the Bible say about denying Christ? What sustains us through a challenge like that?
5. Where in this passage do we see Gospel truths about God, Man, Christ, and our response? Have your sins been forgiven?
Going Beyond: 1. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage? q The Bible q God q God the Father
q Jesus Christ q The Holy Spirit q Man q Salvation q The Church q Angels & Satan q Future Things –
Posted on March 20, 2010
The other day in a discussion with a friend, a statement was made that the disciple Peter was crucified upside down. I have heard this before, but after searching through my Bible I cannot find any reference to this event. The person I was studying with has since called me asking where this can be found and I would like to give her the correct answer. When you get a chance could you please tell me if this was indeed Peter’s fate and in what text this came from.
The tradition that Peter was executed began with the reference to the form of his death in John chapter 21, in which Jesus told Peter, "I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow older, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where do don’t want to go." John reported, (probably after Peter died) "He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God." So the idea that Peter was crucified (stretch out your hands) came from John, but this does not include the location or the physical position of his crucifixion.
Eusebius (AD 325) claimed in his Ecclesiastical History that all the apostles were martyred except for John . The evidence for some of these is very spotty, but the number, variety and quality of testimony to the martyrdom of Peter and Paul in Rome is sufficient that I think we can reasonably say that most likely this is how they died.
The early church fathers are unanimous in claiming that Peter died in Rome, by crucifixion, during the persecution of Nero in AD 64. As for crucifixion upside down, that is also testified to, but the evidence is weaker for this particular form of crucifixion. The apocryphal Acts of Peter is the earliest reference to crucifixion of Peter upside down. The earliest reference to the martyrdom of Peter comes from the letter of Clement of Rome (about AD 90). He said, in his Letter to the Corinthians, "Let us take the noble examples of our own generation. Through jealousy and envy, the greatest and most just pillars of the Church were persecuted and came even unto death… Peter, through unjust envy, endured not one or two but many labours, and at last, having delivered his testimony, departed unto the place of glory due to him." Not much there as to the means or location of his death, but that it was an execution is clearly implied. Ignatius, in his Letter to the Romans about AD 110 claimed that Peter was bishop of Rome. Irenaeus of Lyon, about AD 180, agrees that Peter served in Rome. Tertullian, about AD 195 declared "But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John (the Baptist, i.e. by being beheaded). Dionysius of Corinth, also about AD 200 "You (Pope Soter) have also, by your very admonition, brought together the planting that was made by Peter and Paul at Rome and at Corinth; for both of them alike planted in our Corinth and taught us; and both alike, teaching similarly in Italy, suffered martyrdom at the same time" When Eusebius reported the crucifixion of Peter and the beheading of Paul in Ecclestiacial History, he was simply passing along a tradition which has been the unanimous opinion of the church for two hundred years.
Tradition has that Peter’s body is contained in a crypt below St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This is actually not all that far-fetched a claim. In fact, when the sarcophagus claimed to contain his body was studied in the 1960’s (Margherita Guarducci, 1963-1968) the evidence supported that it was of a man about 60 years old who died in the first century AD. I certainly would not base my faith on this being his body, and besides, it is not clear the significance to a Christian to have the actual remains of Peter.
In conclusion, we can reasonably conclude that Peter was in fact crucified in Rome. As for his crucifixion upside down, this is much more weakly attested to in only one ancient source which is probably much less reliable that Clement, Ignatius, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Eusebius and many others.
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Lesson 20: Mark 14:53-72
2. The idea here is to pick up on what Mark is emphasizing by what he includes and leaves out.
4. Note the link to the helpful bit by John Piper on the meaning of the expression “son of man.”
6. While there are obviously many details in common with all the accounts, it is interesting to make special note of some details highlighted and by Mark.
1. This question combines the last lesson with this one to make some observations that connect parts from before and after Jesus’ arrest.
These questions focus on Peter’s denial and how we do or don’t stand up for Christ.
I have included a short article about the martyrdom of Peter as a balance to his denial here.