Red Letter Year: 2/27

Mark 14:53-72

53 They took Jesus to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law had gathered. 54 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and went right into the high priest’s courtyard. There he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.

55 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. 56 Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other. 57 Finally, some men stood up and gave this false testimony: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’” 59 But even then they didn’t get their stories straight!

60 Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 61 But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

62 Jesus said, “I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

63 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? 64 You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!” 65 Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. “Prophesy to us,” they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.

66 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.”

68 But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.

69 When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 70 But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”

71 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.


Not a lot of red letters today. Not a lot of truth telling in this passage. As is too often the case, the “trial” features leaders looking for something to give them an excuse to do what they want, something to support a decision they have already made. When you are only looking and listening for what you want to see and hear, you are blind and deaf to the truth, even when it is plainly stated to you. All of the secrecy about Jesus’ identity that Mark kept emphasizing pays off here in the most direct statement in all the Gospels. Jesus finally lays all his cards on the table and comes clean with the religious leaders. But they weren’t looking for truth and they didn’t want a Messiah. They aren’t the only ones short on truth here. Their falsehood is mirrored by Peter’s, who seems to be the only one of the twelve who didn’t completely desert Jesus, but whose courage fails under the ‘harsh interrogation’ of a servant girl. We can so easily wind up in one of these untruth traps, where our own thinking blinds us to truth or our own fear leads us to deny or disclaim what we know is true. When we are plainly told and can’t see it. When we are plainly asked and can’t say it. It takes a lot of courage to accept truth (especially uncomfortable truth, but it always takes some measure of courage) and even more to share it. I hope we are brave enough for both.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Red Letter Year: 2/1

Mark 8:22-38

22 When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to Jesus, and they begged him to touch the man and heal him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village. Then, spitting on the man’s eyes, he laid his hands on him and asked, “Can you see anything now?”

No I don’t think this is biblical evidence of Ents.

24 The man looked around. “Yes,” he said, “I see people, but I can’t see them very clearly. They look like trees walking around.”

25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, and his eyes were opened. His sight was completely restored, and he could see everything clearly.26 Jesus sent him away, saying, “Don’t go back into the village on your way home.”

27 Jesus and his disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages near Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

28 “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.”

29 Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”

Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”

30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

31 Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. 32 As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things.

33 Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


I have been praying for people to be healed for years, but only recently have I adopted a method similar to what Jesus uses here with the blind man. No, not the spitting part (though don’t sit in front when I’m preaching or lecturing, sometimes I get excited). The part where Jesus simply and quickly prays (it actually only says he lays hands on the man here, prayer itself is implied, not stated), then asks if the prayer has worked. When the man says partially, Jesus does it again. Robbie Dawkins uses this approach regularly with a lot of success, so we’ve been doing it too. It feels very in keeping with our Vineyard approach, where praying for healing is normal and something to be treated as such. We are also finding that a lot of times the second (or third) round of praying is when healing occurs. Amy, the girls, and I prayed for a friend like this yesterday in a parking lot and he felt some tingling in the spot that needed healing. We’ll see if there are long term results. If you aren’t used to praying like this, give it a try. It worked for Jesus, so why not us?

I think this goes well with the main point of today’s reading, Jesus’ encouragement there at the end to follow his example, to live for others and for the Gospel, to give up claim to one’s life, to be – what’s the opposite of ashamed? To be bold, defiant, immodest, not sorry, shameless, un-regretful, un-remorseful, unselfconscious of Jesus and his message (all those courtesy of thesaurus com).  Hear in today’s red letters a call to live like that. Because that is how Jesus lived and how he calls his followers to live.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.