Summary: The series concerns itself with the night Jesus was arrested. This second sermon explores that dark night from the perspective of Simon Peter.
INTO THE NIGHT: PETER
Last week we looked at Judas. He left the Last Supper and went out into the night to complete the betrayal of Jesus. Today, we will look at Peter who also experienced great failure that same night. Judas’ story ended tragically. How will Peter’s story of failure end?
1. THE BOASTER.
Peter, to me, is the most interesting of the disciples.
He is strong, determined, impetuous, and a born leader.
But, he is also often wrong, too trusting of his own strength, and quick to shoot off his mouth.
He was a man of great faith, but struggled in doubt during adversity.
He showed great courage, but was it courage or foolhardiness?
** You could insert my name for his in the above description.
Peter was close to Jesus. He loved Him greatly.
Peter’s signature moment came when he showed the greatest faith of the 12 by stepping out of the boat and walking on water. But moments later found himself sinking down into the sea until he called out to Jesus.
* Peter is the first to confess Jesus as Lord and Son of the Living God. But he will soon deny he even knows Jesus.
* Last Supper Boasting.
They have gathered and Jesus has taught them many things.
Jesus revealed one of them would betray Him.
Peter is the first to ask “Who is it that will betray you?”
I Imagine Peter is hoping to beat the betrayer senseless.
He was that kind of guy.
* Then Jesus drops a bomb on Peter.
Lk 22:31-34 31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34 And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
Jesus tells Peter he is going to fail Him greatly.
Peter says to Jesus “No way! I’ll never fail you. Prison / die for You!
Jesus says “No, you will deny Me even this very night!”
Peter is likely thinking, “You don’t know me. I’ll never deny you!”
2. THE DENIER.
A. The Sleepy Watchman.
The meal is over. Jesus took the disciples to Gethsemane to pray.
He took Peter, James, and John away from the others to be near Him while He prayed.
He told them to Keep Watch while He prayed.
They knew Jesus was greatly distressed but three times Peter, James and John fell asleep while Jesus prayed.
The third time Jesus woke them and said “Let’s get going. The one who betrays Me is at hand.” Mt 27:46
Peter falling asleep is a form of denying Christ.
We are servants and ministers of Jesus Christ.
When we fail in our call, we, by default, deny Jesus Christ.
* As we chastise Peter’s failures while neglecting our own spiritual apathy and laziness, are we denying Christ also? Absolutely.
The Bible spells out Christ’s commandments for us. When we ignore them or willfully reject them, we have denied Christ.
B. The Impetuous Defender.
Peter also denied Christ by striking out in his own will rather that the will of Jesus Christ.
After Jesus awakened them, they are quickly confronted by Judas and the many armed soldiers and guards that were coming to arrest Jesus.
Jn 18:10-11 10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”
Peter proved his love for Jesus and his willingness to die for Jesus, but he failed in his application. His bravery was actually more rash foolhardiness than bravery. He acted in his own flesh and his own wisdom instead of in the will of Christ.
We often do the same thing as we do what seems right in our own minds and will. Whenever we attempt God’s work in the flesh instead of in the Spirit we deny Christ. Whenever we act in our own will, we deny the will of Christ.
C. The Frightened Curser.
Peter’s greatest denial comes after the arrest of Jesus and He verbally denies Jesus 3 times just as Jesus had said that he would. The arrest has been made and Peter is outside hearing the accusations against Jesus and the physical abuse. Fear is gripping him as he sees all the hopes and dreams he had unraveling as it becomes obvious that they intend to kill Jesus.