Summary: the failure of Peter at the trial of Jesus was predictable. Let's look at the decisions and non-decisions that brought about this event in his life. We can learn a lot.
Passage: Matthew 26:69-75
Intro: The more time we spend looking at this powerful event, the more contrast we see between
spirit and flesh, God’s character and Satan’s.
1. we will look this morning at one of the really sad stories in the Passion week.
2. why is it here? Because it is true, and incredibly instructive for us.
3. like everything happening during this event, very intense.
4. so let’s sit down and debrief with Peter as to what was going on when he was busy denying His Lord.
5. not here to bust his chops. We would not even have been there, frankly
6. but to learn what motivates our wrong behavior so we can stop it in its tracks.
Il) last week Jan and I at Grand Canyon. A few steps from death.
7. we can learn how to recognize that first dangerous step before we take it, and start sliding down a slope too steep for us to stop. And God’s rescue
I. No Pre-Decision
1. I have fallen in love with this phrase!
2. you might have heard it said this way: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”
3. Jesus arrested, taken to trial, Peter hanging around .
4. v58, “sat down with the guards to see the outcome.”
5. no more swordsmanship displays, just there to observe undercover.
6. confronted by a servant girl who came up to him and made a rather innocent statement. “You were with..”
7. now I’m guessing that Peter had not run thru how he might answer. It was a little unexpected.
8. he was caught! And his fearful reaction showed up in his statement.
Il) typical stalling technique, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”
9. reacting or responding? One requires no thinking, but responding is well-thought out.
10. so first thing out of his mouth (sounds like flesh) is “what are you talking about?”
Il) 3 years of public ministry at Jesus’ side, it was “a matter of public record”
11. notice something in vv69-70
12. girl came “to him”, but he answered “before them all”.
13. his lie became a matter of public record, and when that happens, someone is going to hunt for the truth.
14. it was that first little step down a perilous, slippery slope, and it was unrecoverable if he persisted in it. Because…
II. The Truth Becomes Too Costly
1. now Peter heads for the gateway to get into a darker place.
2. now that he has lied, the truth has become a very dangerous commodity.
3. he had been proud to be a disciple of Jesus, but it had become something filled with risk.
4. now people were wondering if he was a “false witness”, so he had to avoid having his lie uncovered.
5. and so when another servant girl made a public accusation in v71, the noose began to tighten
6. now a little crowd was gathering, and the truth became even more dangerous,
7. and so the need to obscure the evidence became more powerful. Why?
8. because something else had been added to the mix. Pride.
9. he has to admit he lied, and that takes it to a whole new place
III. Defending His Lie Becomes His Primary Motivation
1. now it has become personal.
2. he owns the lie; it is his to defend
3. now “I don’t know the man” v72
4.. and with the added flourish of an oath
5. when a Jew used an oath, it was by something bigger than himself.
Il) it would be blasphemous to say “as God is my witness,” but he could swear by the altar or the temple.
6. he struggles to add believability to the lie by gathering support
7. he is in full defense mode. Defending his indefensible position.
8. evidence is now insignificant, truth is inconsequential, emotions are fully involved.
Il) “that’s my story and I’m sticking to it”
9. this is where “ad homimen” attacks become prevalent.
Il) political, religious, scientific disagreements often become personal
10. attack the person. Intimidation, more lying, gathering of supporters.
11. this is where the flesh will lead us, and it will never be a good place.
12. tempers flare, friendships end, churches split.
13. because we come to that place where…
IV. Flesh is in Complete Control
1. I wonder why Peter didn’t just leave
2. sticking around just led credence to his relationship with Jesus.
3. here is the bottom line: He did not believe what Jesus had said…any of it!
4. did not believe he was going to die, did not believe he was going to deny the Lord.
5. so when the crowd gathered and accusations were made, he went ballistic
6. he denied any knowledge of his master in the strongest possible terms.