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How Could He? [Peter's denial of Christ]

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Sermon shared by Bobby Stults

February 2011
Summary: So often we judge Peter harshly for his denials of Christ, but how often do WE find ourselves walking in his shoes! We need to remember that this story does have a great ending!
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
Luke 22:54-62 [ESV]
54Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, "This man also was with him." 57But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know him." 58And a little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not."
59And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, "Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean." 60But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about." And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times." 62And he went out and wept bitterly.

Parallel Passages…
Matthew 26:69-75
Mark 14:66-72
John 18:15-18;25-27

The scene shifts a bit here off the main character, Jesus, and onto a main supporting character of this story… the fisherman, disciple known as Peter! Peter… the man who’s bold words and actions had brought him to the forefront of leadership within this group of disciples. Peter, the man who wanted to walk on water with Jesus… the man who DID walk on water with Jesus!

Peter, the man who when asked by Jesus if he would leave… Peter said, “Jesus, we have left all for you, where would we go?”
Peter, the man who confidently proclaimed Jesus as the Son of the living God, the Messiah, God’s chosen and anointed One!
Peter, the man whom Jesus praised for his faith and spiritual sensitivity tp God in making that proclamation…
Peter, the man who had the nerve to challenge Jesus when Jesus had predicted his capture and ultimate fate…
Peter, the man whom Jesus rebuked as Satan, for his lack of spiritual sight in knowing God’s plans…
Peter, the man who vowed before the disciples and all who were in the room, that he would not leave Jesus’ side, even if it meant death…
Peter, the man who took action in the Garden of Gethsemane and struck at the servant of the High Priest with his sword and cut off his ear…

v. 54 is a transitional element in this event we know as the Passion… The soldiers and Judas had come, Judas had done his evil deed, Jesus had spoken, Peter had drawn and used the sword, and now it was time for action on the part of the crowd who had come to seize Jesus.

They take this opportunity (one that Jesus made possible I might add) and they ‘lay hands on Him’ or ‘seize Him’ and take Him away to the house of the High Priest. As almost a sidebar or footnote to the situation, Luke adds, “…and Peter was following at a distance…”

It is prudent to note that here in the parallel passages of both Matthew and Mark, the authors relate this one statement about the disciples at this point…
Matthew: “…then all the disciples’ left Him and fled…”
Mark: “…and they all left Him and fled…”

The point being that once the sword was
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