We begin our encounter today at the last supper. This would be the last meal that Jesus would have with His disciples.
- Matthew 26:31-35
31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
- Just before the conclusion of the supper, Jesus gives this little prophecy. All the disciples would be scattered and run away because they would be offended of Him.
- Peter steps in and says, “NEVER! I would never do such a thing!” Then Jesus turns directly to Peter and addresses him and tell him that he would deny Him three times!
- And again, Peter denies he would ever do such a thing. “The others may do such a thing, but I never would do that Jesus!” Full of self-confidence. Sure of himself. Sure that he loved Jesus more than all the other disciples. This is the first point of Peter’s downfall.
- But Jesus leaves it at that. He doesn’t keep on insisting and trying to make His point. But at least we have on record that He warned them. And if they had heeded such a warning, they would have been self-distrustful, the would have been watching, they would have been careful of self!
- But words unheeded would lead to the next step.
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
- They go off to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ place to resort to to pray and to have time with the Father. He brings with Him His closest disciples, the inner 3, to bring them nearer to Him so that they could support Him. And whilst He is off praying and deciding whether to go ahead to surrender His life and drink the cup of wrath from the Father, He is needing the support from those 3 – Peter, James and John.
- But when He comes back, what does He find? He finds them asleep! Expecting support, instead they are passed out! Instead of praying and helping Him, they are fast asleep!
Jesus goes off to pray again another 2 times. What does He find again? Just disappointment.
- Matthew 26:43
And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
- They were sleeping yet again!
Why were they so tired? What made them to fall asleep? Was it a spiritual problem? What made them to lose all their energy? Was it just really late? What had happened before this?
- The last supper with Jesus. What did Jesus have to deal with in the last supper?
- Luke 22:24
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
- They were busy arguing amongst themselves about who would be the greatest. They wanted to be honored with Christ when He became king!None of them would humble themselves and wash each others feet. That’s why Jesus ended up doing it. They were on guard watching each other that they forgot to watch themselves and not allow them to fall asleep.
- They had used up all their energy fighting each other!
At the conclusion of Christ’s time in prayer, what happens?
- Matthew 26:45
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
- The mob that is lead by Judas comes into the garden looking for Jesus to arrest Him. And at seeing the crowd, what does Peter do? Aroused from his sleep, probably in somewhat of a confusion, he acts out in instinct and probably in a panic as well.
- John 18:10-11
10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. 11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
- Out of passion, he takes out his sword – where he got it from we have no idea. But he takes his sword and tries to chop off the head of one from the mob. Acting rashly. Not heeding Christ’s words about him denying Christ. Not being watchful and much in prayer.
Jesus heals the man’s ear that had been chopped off, and they all come and take Christ. And seeing Him taken, what do the disciples do?
- Mark 14:50
And they all forsook him, and fled.
- Maybe, just maybe, if they had been praying they would have remembered the words of Christ just a few hours earlier when He told them that they would all be offended of Him that night. But they ran and never even thought for a moment any of Christ’s word. In panic, they forgot everything! Even the prophecy that Jesus had uttered a few short hours before that.
What happens next?
- Luke 22:54
Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.
- Peter, he turns and starts to follow, but he follows afar off. He doesn’t want to be associated with Christ. He doesn’t want to get arrested like Christ was. But John was following close by and nothing was happening to him. We read this:
- John 18:15-16
15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
- Although the name is not mentioned, we know that this is John. He always referred to himself in the third person in his book.
- Peter, he was afraid. Afraid for his life! He didn’t want to be associated with Christ. He kept his distance. Had he stayed close by, like John, the temptation to deny Christ would not have been as high!
- It’s when we distance ourselves from Jesus that we get in trouble. Safety is found in being near Him, not far from Him!
- Matthew 26:58
But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
- He tried to blend in as the trial of Jesus began.
But then what happens?
- Mark 14:66-68
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
- One of the maids recognized him. This is the first time he denies knowing Christ.
- It’s interesting that the cock crowed. It’s almost as if God, in His mercy, is trying to awaken his conscience. Christ said that Peter would deny Him before the cock crowed twice! It didn’t say it in Matthew, but we read it in Mark.
- Mark 14:30
And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
- So Peter denies the first time, and the cock crows once. God is trying to help Peter to awaken to the path that he is going down. Look how John recounts Peter’s first denial.
- John 18:17-18
17 Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. 18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
- After Peter denies Christ for the first time, Peter tries to blend in. He tries to warm himself around the fire of the other workers.
You know what’s really interesting is Peter’s behaviour each time he denies Christ.
- First time:
- Matthew 26:70
But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.
- He just says – I don’t know Him. I’m not with Him.
- Matthew 26:70
- Second time.
- Matthew 26:71-72
71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
- He denies with an oath. He makes a promise. I promise I really don’t know Him! Or people say things today like – I swear that I don’t know Him. He seems to get more desperate with people finding out so he resorts to stronger language.
- Matthew 26:71-72
- And then finally:
- Matthew 26:73
And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.
- Finally someone comes up and says – look, you speak just like Him! And this person wasn’t saying you had the same accent as Jesus. But Jesus had a very pure language. And of course, spending 3.5 years with such a man, it would rub off on you.
- Peter didn’t speak like a fisherman anymore. His tone, his words, they were all different. Not rough and coarse, but gentle and smooth. So in order to convince them that he wasn’t with them, what did Peter have to do?
- Matthew 26:74
Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.
- Peter cursed! He probably resorted back to his old language, the one he used when he was on the rough seas! He was desperate to not be associated with Jesus. He was scared for his life!
- Matthew 26:73
- Just as he denies Christ, the cock crows for the second time. And not hearing it the first time, but all of a sudden, his conscience awakens. Peter, all of a sudden, remembers the words that Christ spoke to him just a short time before. And upon remembering, look what happens.
- Luke 22:60-61
60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
- As he remembers those words, he thinks of his beloved Saviour and their eyes connect. And in that look that Jesus gives him, it’s a look of forgiveness, a look of sadness, but a look of hope that he can change.
- Luke 22:62
And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
- He runs back to the spot just a few moments before Jesus was praying, asking for strength from God for help in the trial ahead. It is there in that same spot that Peter recommits his life to Jesus. It is there that Peter is broken on the rock Jesus Christ. It is there that Peter is finally converted, after 3.5 years of walking with Jesus.
Before all of this happened… Jesus gave these important words to Peter:
- Luke 22:31-32
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus was praying for Peter before any of this happened? He was hoping the very best for him!
Jesus is praying for you too today. And He is saying, when you are converted, when you have fallen on the rock, when you have surrendered your whole life to me, you can be a great power for good in this world!
Peter ended up preaching on the day of Pentecost that would result in the baptism of over 3000 people. God longs to do that again today. But He’s waiting. Waiting for you to surrender! Are you willing to let go of your pride today, let go of your self-confidence and self-sufficiency, and surrender to Christ, surrender to His words. It is my prayer that we will learn this all important of surrender today. May God bless you!