Mark 14:31

But Peter vehemently protested, “Even if I must die with you, I will never disown you!” And they all said the same.

no no no
I’ll die before I die
and there’s nothin’
you can do
to stop me
from making
a complete fool
of your teaching

yes indeed
so say we all
we’re saying it loud
so very proud of our loud
its time to take a stand
we’ve got the training
to win outright victory

The intensified phrase,  “vehemently protested”, gives the flavor of the Greek. If you are going to protest too much, do so with gusto.

After Peter protests, we come to the little word “all” who are now emboldened to add their voice to Peter’s.

This is the third time in five verses that we have come upon the word “all”. In the immediate context, this is a reference to the Twelve, but the 60+ uses of this word in Mark are an indication of a much larger picture Mark is painting.

Myers189 points to this larger picture in his paragraph:

As we have come to expect, Jesus’ realism about his destiny is immediately refuted by Peter (14:29). But as surely as Peter sets himself apart as the exception, Jesus counters that he above all will characterize the desertion (14:30). The whole community echoes Peter’s vehement protestations of loyalty (14:31), showing that they are all complicit in self-delusion.

Self-delusion is a circle difficult to break into. Seen from its own vantage point, everything can be fitted into the constructed model. One of the clues is an excessive use of “should” and “ought”. What I see is what you should see. The way I am defining the situation is the way you ought to define it. This is a strong defense not easily toppled. It would be far easier to cause the Temple walls to fall than for my appreciation for my way to stumble. There are no banana peels in this world.

Self-delusion comes in both individual and communal expressions, as here. Peter’s denial of Jesus’ reality is a center around which others gather. A strong individual can keep a group satisfied with their eternal perspective, and a strong group can help an individual be satisfied with the shared vision. They both attribute lies to others.

“All” implicates each of us in some level of self-delusion.

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