Summary: Discussion of Peter’s boldness in telling Jesus he would stand by Him, his subsequent denials of Jesus, and how we do the same thing sometimes...

Denying Jesus

Matthew 26:31-35, 69-75; John 21:15-17

July 26, 2009


I had originally planned to bring another message about that Last Supper, when Jesus instituted the sacrament of Communion.

But the more I actually worked on the message, the more I felt like God was telling me I needed to move on to the next section and revisit the issue of Communion next week, since that’s when we’re schedule to take it again.

So we’re going to move on to what happens just moments after Jesus shares this meal with His disciples, as they move on to the Garden of Gethsemene.

And it’s in this passage that we find Peter making a rather bold statement – a statement he’ll regret later.

Have any of you ever said something you later regretted?

For some, including myself the question isn’t so much whether we’ve done it, but how long it’s been since we didn’t say something, right?

For some, the only reason they open their mouth is so they can switch feet.

There’s a great quote I came across:

“Don’t say ‘giddy-up’ to your mouth before your head is hitched up.”

Cool, huh? I’m thinking of super-gluing that to my telephone…

A lot of times, we’re quick to speak, and if we’re not careful, we’ll end up saying something we’ll regret.

When it comes to the things of God, and especially about our love and allegiance to Jesus, it’s easy to speak, but what’s going to happen when the rubber really meets the road and you find yourself faced with a situation where if you say what you should it could get you in a lot of trouble?

And maybe not just a little trouble, like someone laughing at you or making fun of you.

Big trouble. Possible arrest, torture, and even death trouble, like many of our brothers and sisters around the world will face today?

Will we have the courage to stand up for Christ, whether the situation is big or small, or will be deny Him?

God: We’re going to look at three passages of Scripture that revolve around a specific event in the lives of Jesus and Peter.

Normally we only look at one passage, so I want to assure you we’ll be out of here at our usual time frame, so don’t worry!

The first passage is Matthew 26:31-35 (p. 703), and takes place as Jesus and the disciples are headed for the Garden of Gethsemane–

31 Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

"’I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

32 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."

33 Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

34 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times."

35 But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same.

Boy, Peter really laid it out, didn’t he?

You gotta give him credit – he was sincere and he was adamant, just like many of us are when we make these kinds of statements.

Some of you might be thinking to yourself, “I’d never make that kind of statement, anyway – it’s not safe!”

Um – remember your wedding vows? Those were some pretty audacious statements, weren’t they?

For better, for worse? How many marriages today are broken because when the “worst” part came, they bailed?

Oh they probably meant it when they said it at the wedding ceremony, just like Peter meant it when He told Jesus he’d be there for Him.

But what happens when the hard times come? They decide that they’re better off without that person.

This is why I insist on pre-marital counseling before I do a wedding. We talk about this stuff because I want them to be equipped to handle it when the hard times come, so they can stick it out with God’s help and wisdom.

So here we have Peter talking big. Let’s move on to where he gets the chance to back up his words, in verses 69-75 (p. 704) –

69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. "I don’t know what you’re talking about," he said.

71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth."

72 He denied it again, with an oath: "I don’t know the man!"

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