The First 15

Thursday April 23, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Blame Game


Mark 14:66-72

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.


“It was Shaughn’s fault. He did it. I was just there making sure he didn’t get hurt.” Shaughn is my younger brother. To every older sibling out there, I’m sure you never tried to blame your younger sibling for something you did in order to avoid punishment. Whether you have siblings or not, I bet you can think of a time where you were dishonest in order to avoid trouble or consequences of some kind. Jesus maintains his integrity and it costs him his life. Peter fearfully lies to save his life but forfeits his integrity. During the hours Peter’s closest friend needed him the most, Peter denied even knowing him three times. You can imagine as Peter weeps how he probably blamed himself for this situation.

Historians like to play the blame game in identifying who is really culpable for Jesus’ death. Who is more to blame? The Romans? The Jews? Judas? One could argue the Romans because they are the ultimate political authority to decide matters of capital punishment. The charge against Jesus as “King of the Jews,” a rival authority to Caesar, ultimately led Rome to execute him. Still, one could say, no such charge would ever see the light of day had it not been for the false testimony and manipulating efforts of Jewish authorities who considered Jesus to be a false prophet because of his statements against the temple. He also claimed to be the Messiah. He said and did things only God can say and do. The charge of blasphemy ultimately is what led the Jewish authorities to persist in making sure Rome executed Jesus. Judas provided the way around the crowds and made the arrest possible without an uproar. Then there is Peter and the rest of the Twelve. Had they been strong and vigilant, instead of running away, would things have turned out differently?

The blame for Jesus’ death falls upon every human life. Not just the Romans and Jews and Judas and the disciples, but you and me too. We are all to blame. We all run away. We all blame the other when our hands are dirty. We all try and save face instead of facing judgment. Jesus is the true prophet who knew. Jesus showed he knew more about Peter than Peter knew about himself. He knew the denials would come. He knew this was a road he would have to walk alone.

He who knew no sin became sin for us. He who was pure and innocent took upon himself our blame. Nobody to blame but ourselves and he took it all for us. Oh what a Savior is he! God’s love for you is unassailable. Let us rejoice this morning in the faithfulness of Jesus! He has made a way where there was no way. Only he could do it. Now, we are forgiven and free from blame. So let us seek to bless and not blame today. Forgive one another as you are forgiven. And let’s always be quick to give credit where credit is due.

Prayer for Today

Holy God, we trust you even when the answer is no. You know the plans you have for us and they are better than we could ever hope for. Through all of our questions and doubts and frustrations, keep us steadfast in pursuing you. You are our Rock and our Redeemer. We offer you all of our life today. Show us your grace. Amen

The First 15

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