Summary: Would you want Peter on your team, he denied even knowing you, but Jesus used him.
DON’T WANT HIM ON MY TEAM!
TEXT: MATTHEW 26.58, 75
This sermon will bring an end to our series on the calling and preparation of Peter as given to us in the Gospels. We have watched Peter as he progresses from his call at the Sea of Galilee, and the immediate departure from his fishing business to follow Christ. We saw as Jesus gave him (along with the other disciples) the future mission which he would complete.
We now see in the previous verses where Jesus and His disciples have just completed their Passover meal. He then gives them the warning that they would all forsake Him. After He finishes telling them this, they go to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While they are there, Judas comes with a large group from the house of the High Priest. They come in search of Jesus. They have come to arrest Him and take Him to the house of Caiaphas, who is the high priest at this time. This is just as Jesus had told them. Just remember, as we learned in the last message, Jesus told his disciples that they would be offended because of Him, and would forsake Him. All of them (including Peter) agreed they would not leave Him, but would follow Him all the way. Peter was so sure of his commitment that he had a heated exchange about this very fact with Jesus. He thought he was stronger than what he was, but he would fail. He then runs for the hills when he denies Jesus. One could ask the question, “Is this the kind of person you would want on your team?” Most people would say, “No!”
Are we any better than Peter? I hope that we can learn a great deal from our study of the life of Peter. He is one of the most colorful characters in the Scripture. I feel that we can truly gain a considerable amount of knowledge when see how our life can be compared to his. Jesus has called each of us to follow Him and complete the mission given to us. We must remember that, sometimes, to reach the mission, we have to go through the school of hard knocks or you could say “I am attending the University of Trials and Tribulation.”
1. DON’T GET TO CLOSE, WE MIGHT GET SPOTTED
You will notice as we read the story in the Gospels that Jesus was completely right about what He had said. Look what happens as they prepare to take Him away, “. . . all the disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26.56). All of His disciples left Him just as Jesus had told them. They were not going to stay behind and see what was going to happen next, they could be arrrested also. Matthew 26.57 states, “And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled” (see also Mark 14.53, Luke 22.54a). Jesus is then taken away by the servants from the house of Caiaphas. All of the necessary people had been assembled for this mock trial. We see it as a mock trial, because their minds were, most likely, already decided as to what they were going to do.
Notice how Peter responds after this occurs. Matthew 26.58 states, “But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace . . .” (see also Mark 14.54, Luke 22.54b). When I read this scripture, I remember many of those old movies where someone will jump into a cab, tell the cabbie “follow that car, but don’t get to close, they might see us.” Peter does decide to follow Him, but only from a distance. Peter wants to follow because he loves Jesus, and truly does not want to forsake Christ. He is very concerned at what is going to happen to Him. He wants to know if the Sanhedrin is just going to punish Him, possibly by beating, and then release Him or sentence Him to death. However, because of Peter’s fear, he does not want to be seen. If he were to be seen, then Jesus’ captors could possibly arrest him and he could face the same fate as Jesus. Peter is finding out the hard way, that it is turning out to be just as Jesus had spoken it.
That must have been depressing for Peter to realize.
When Peter arrived at the house of Caiaphas, he enters into the area where the spectators have gathered. Peter then “. . . sat with the servants, to see the end. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them” (Luke 22:54b-55). Peter mixes in with the crowd. Maybe he can be part of the crowd without be seen or recognized. It seems that several people have assembled to see what is going to happen to Jesus. For someone who is afraid and does not want to be seen, he sure picks a great place to go, right to the court room.