Summary: There was no one who was more outspoken for his Master than Peter. He was the one whom everyone could count on to stand for Jesus and define his faith in the one from Nazareth. After all, Peter was the "Rock." He was up front, a get in your face type.
The last days of our Lord, in His human form, were rapidly coming to a close. For three years plus, the disciples had lived with the Master and together they had seen and experienced much. They rode a roller coaster with their hopes and dreams, regardless of how many times Christ tried to get them to see that He was not going to be the earthly Messiah whom they desired. They held out hope against hope that maybe, just maybe, He would relent and they would be able to see Him become the Savior of Israel. What they failed to realize was that He was the Savior of not only Israel, but of the whole world. However, their myopic vision would not allow them to fully grasp what was at stake.
Before the Romans came to fulfill the Scriptures, Jesus was giving the final words of encouragement and instructions to His followers when Peter spoke and said that he would never deny Jesus. However, the Master knew differently and told Peter that he would deny Him. This was hard for this impetuous man to accept and he clung to his statement that regardless of what happened, he was going to stick with Jesus. Then, when Jesus was finally arrested in the Garden and hauled away, things began to turn negatively towards the hope of the inevitable truth that Jesus was not going to do what they had been hoping He would do.
Once the arrest was made, things spiraled out of all control and the followers of Christ stood helpless as some of them fled. Then Peter did what he thought he would never do-deny Jesus. The results of this action burst upon Peter like a dam that had just found its weakest point in the retaining wall and burst through to flood all unclaimed territory below the water level. Peter was engulfed in a flood of remorseful emotions and he wept bitterly. One could never fault Peter for his intentions, but the reality of events proved to him that regardless of his Inspiring Intentions, he Incurred complete Ineffectiveness before his Lord.
I see three things in these verses as they relate to what Peter experienced on that lonely morning so long ago. The first thing I see is that his efforts, his vows, his intents were all INIMICAL to what he actually did. I then notice the IMPEDIMENTS of his personality and his person as he failed in the one hour when Jesus needed a friend. Lastly, I note that these motives and actions were INDICATIVE to this fisherman whom everyone loved. As I look at Peter in the light of my sermon, I cannot but help notice that maybe, just maybe, I might be entwined with Peter’s psyche in my walk with the Lord. Where he failed-I can fail and I often have. What bothered him sometimes bothers me and the implications of what these events meant for Peter mean the same for me. The good news is that Peter was restored and so can I be restored by the same loving Lord of both Peter and myself, regardless of the many failures we commit in following Jesus.
I. INIMICAL: Would it not be nice that what ever Peter desired, he would have accomplished? He desired to stand for Jesus but failed. His failure, though, has been repeated by millions of Christians down through the centuries and I have to include myself in this category. Oh, I like Peter, desire to do the best for my Lord, but like Peter my hopes and dreams are often marked by the sad fact that they are INIMICAL to me and my best wishes. So often hopes and dreams turn into bad failings like what happened to Peter.
The first part of my sermon has to do with Peter’s Impulsiveness. We have all heard about how he was so impulsive.. You would never catch him taking a back seat when there was a decision to be made about standing for Jesus. No sir, he was right up front and spoke with great gusto, that even if others would deny Him, Peter was the Rock and he was going to take his stand for his Master. It is good that there are people who are decisive in their lives. It seems like all people look askance upon those whom we would call, “Wishy-washy.” No sir, we like one who knows his/her mind and moves forthrightly to accomplish the stated goals one sets for oneself.
My missionary instructor in college, Prof. Rundell, would relate to we students a fact about the Amyra Indians in Peru where he served many years as a missionary. He related how he would preach his heart out to those stoic Indians and they would set so non-pulsed on the benches and pews and seldom respond to the call of the gospel in an open religious service. However, Prof. Rundell stated that often so many of these Indians would come to him in private and tell him when they were alone, that on a certain day they would return to the compound and give their heart to Jesus. Rejecting all calls for expediency, the Indians would leave the mission compound, walk on out into the rain forest and disappear. However, when the promised day arrived, that one would return and surrender his/her heart to Jesus and would never vary in his/her commitment from that day forward. The decision would be reached, the choice made and the heart was permanently changed from that day forward. That Indian, according to my professor, would never surrender his/her belief in Christ in spite of sometimes severe persecution from that one’s family and tribe. The choice was made and the results were lifelong. I have to admire someone like that.