March 15, 2014

Cursing Under Pressure

Mark 14:66-72

[Peter] began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
—Mark 14:71


Peer pressure often holds us captive. The need for acceptance is so tyrannical that we are willing to do almost anything to join the crowd. A young person is murdered for a popular brand of shoe. A huge ad campaign to “Say No to Drugs” is necessary because some say it’s cool to use drugs.

Imprisoned by his need to be like everyone else, Peter denies his true identity and compromises his love for Jesus. Not only that, but in his third denial he also ends up cursing.

Just as Peter tried to blend in with the crowd, we too struggle to stand up for our convictions. I remember golfing at a championship course. Emotionally I was looking for a relaxing time, but I was put with a group of guys who were drinking, swearing, telling about their sexual escapades, and putting down the church. When they asked what I did for a living, I was embarrassed to say I was studying to be a minister, so I said I was a lawyer. During the whole game I felt like I wanted to hide. It was like denying Jesus.

Peer pressure controls all of us from time to time. We want to be accepted, approved of, popular. We don’t enjoy being different. So we allow ourselves to be shaped by people’s opinions rather than by what God wants. When that happens, we need to hear the rooster crow so that we can recognize our sin and repent.

Lord, we often prefer the favor of people to the approval of God. Forgive us and remove our need for human acceptance, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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