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MARK: GOSPEL OF THE SERVICE OF CHRIST, GOD'S SERVANT
Part LVIII: Learning To Pay Attention To God's Warnings Of Our Spiritual Declines
Lesson: Some divine signals we should heed as possible calls to reevaluate our actions, positions or beliefs and ADJUST are: (a) our OWN feelings of DISCOMFORT, a sense of being cornered into situations, feeling pressured to do what we don't feel comfortable about can be a signal, cf. Mk. 14:68 and Peter's removing himself to the entryway; (b) having TIME to THINK following such a very uncomfortable event is a possible signal that God may be trying to get us to EVALUATE where we are headed based upon such upsetting events; and (c) the crowing of a cock, a WARNING SIGNAL from a FRIEND or a EVENT that fits a Biblical warning can be wake up calls, Mark 14:72!
- When a believer backslides into error or apostate beliefs, it usually does not occur quickly, but in steps, in ever so subtle stages that creep him along into spiritual defeat.
- In the process, God sets up signals so that we have warning, ample time to repent before falling headlong into total spiritual disaster. The failure of Peter in denying Christ exemplifies this fact as follows:
- Learning To Pay Attention To God's Warnings Of Our Spiritual Declines, Mark 14:66-72.
- When Jesus predicted that Peter would deny him and Peter denied the prediction, Jesus stated that Peter would deny Christ before the rooster crowed two times, cf. Mk. 14:30.
- Accordingly, we understand Peter had opportunity to take warning of his being in serious trouble once the rooster had first crowed, for there was a time lapse between the two crowings in which Peter had an opportunity to catch himself and repent before it was too late. W e look closely at Mark's account to see the stages of Peter's denial and God's gracious signals for him to heed and repent:
- In examining Mark 14:68, we note the New International Version omits the sentence the King James Version includes, namely, that after the word "entryway" (NIV) or the KJV's "porch", the KJV adds "and the cock crew", meaning the rooster crowed.
- Very reputable manuscripts from a wide range of family texts argue for the inclusion of the crowing of the rooster in verse 68c although it is a very close call:
- In favor of saying scribes included it when it should be absent, one could argue that the presence of the second cock crowing in verse 72 left some scribes intent on mentioning the first crowing somewhere to harmonize the text with its elf, or that scribes wanted to conform to Christ's prediction of the cock crowing twice before Peter's denial in Mk. 14:30, Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 115.
- In favor of saying scribes left it out when it was in the original is the fact that the other gospel records have no inclusion of the cock crowing two times, Ibid., p. 116.
- Each reading (either to omit the phrase or to include it) is supported by "impressive external (manuscript) evidence," so whether the reading should be there or not is a close call, Ibid., p.116.
- However, we know that by the time Peter made his third denial of the Lord, the cock crowed a second time, a fact that jarred Peter into realizing his failure in keeping with Christ's prediction, Mk. 14:72. Sometime, somewhere , the rooster had crowed before, and Peter had remembered hearing it crow!
- With this fact in mind, and not being too concerned about when the first crowing took place, we see signals of God's hand at work allowing Peter time to catch himself before the third, fatal denial:
- After denying the Lord the first time in the courtyard beneath where Jesus was being questioned, Peter realized that he was getting into hot water so as to move himself out to the entryway, 14:68.
- In the process, he was challenged in that entryway with being the disciple of Jesus, and again he denied it, Mk. 14:69-70a. If the rooster crowed here instead of in verse 68 as the KJV has it, Peter would have had another signal of warning that he was fading, and fast!
- Luke 22:59 tells us that Peter had about an hour between this second denial and his final one, and that time would have been opportunity for him to heed the first cock's crowing and repent.
- At his 3rd denial, the cock immediately crowed, and Peter could not then repent, 70b-72; Mt. 26:74.