Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXII: Learning To Watch Out For The Company We Keep
(Mark 14:66-72)
  1. Introduction
    1. Paul commanded Christians in 2 Cor. 6:14 not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for there is no fellowship or harmony between those who are in the light and those in darkness.
    2. In fact, when the believer mixes it up with the wrong crowd, he can become influenced to do what evil he might never be inclined to do own his own or with the godly. Nowhere is this truth more clearly portray ed than in the case of Peter's three-fold denial of Christ in Mark 14:66-72:
  2. Learning To Watch Out For The Company We Keep, Mark 14:66-72.
    1. The same evening in which Peter denied His Lord, Peter emphatically denied Christ's predictions that Peter would do just that before the night was through, Mark 14:27-31.
    2. One of the most influential elements leading to Peter's denial of the Lord was the bad company he kept:
      1. When Jesus was taken captive into the high priest's residency for questioning, Peter followed right into the palace's courtyard and sat by the fire with the high priest's servants to warm himself, Mark 14:54.
      2. In this location amidst this company, Peter ran into incredible pressure to deny the Lord as follows:
        1. One of the maids of the high priest happened to come by the fire where Peter and the other servants of the palace were warming themselves, and stopped to look closely at him, Mark 14:66-67.
        2. In the midst of this audience of hostile servants, the servant girl stated, "And you (emphatic) were also in company with (meta) that Nazarene, Jesus!" (a) Note how incriminating this pressure was, as it fingered particularly Peter with the emphatic "you", (b) how it identified him as belonging to the company that was opposite the current company around the fire of the high priest's servants, and (c) how Jesus was addressed in a distancing, almost derogatory manner as "that Nazarene, Jesus" where Nazareth was a despised, belittled part of Israel compared to Jerusalem's Jews.
        3. With this pressure of the audience and this servant girl's belittling charge, Peter was easily pressured to deny knowing the Lord out of fear of rejection and physical reprisals, Mark 14:68a.
      3. Seeing that his bad company was only an unedifying complication, Peter left the fire to go out onto the porch, but his former encounter only followed to harass him further, Mark 14:68b-71:
        1. Peter left the fire as the pressure tempting him to deny the Lord had already made him fudge; he went out onto the portico to get away from the suspecting crowd, Mark 14:68b.
        2. However, the same made (hay paidiskay) apparently followed him as he left, noting that his move seemed to incriminate Peter, and told others of the high priest's group standing on the porch that Peter was indeed one of Jesus' disciples, Mark 14:69. Peter only denied the Lord again to avoid this mounting pressure of charges that was spreading to the group, Mark 14:70a.
        3. Finally, the crowd standing by, apparently impressed by the private politicking of the maid who relayed Peter's incriminating withdrawal at her first charge became that Peter was guilty, and th is whole crowd came to Peter, claiming that he was one of them.
        4. In fact, Peter's response to the girl had been heard, and it betrayed the typical Galilean brogue of Aramaic, further incriminating evidence. Thus, the crowd charged Peter as surely being with Jesus, and he denied it with a ve hement legal curse and sworn testimony to escape trouble, Mk. 14:70b-71.
      4. The cock crowed the second time, and Peter recalled the Lord's prediction of his denying Christ before the night was through. He responded by grieving over his sin, Mark 14:72.
Lesson: The company Peter kept around the fire in the hostile high priest's quarters only served to put more pressure on him to relinquish his stand for Christ.

Application: An important step that the believer must take to avoid sinful defeat is for him to watch the company he keeps. As Paul told a young pastor, Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:20-23, we are to purge ourselves from close ties with those who are spi ritually unclean to avoid ourselves becoming contaminated against being useful to God in life, and bolster our faith by mingling "together with" (meta) those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart!