Summary: Peter's denial of Jesus in Luke 22:54-62 shows us the danger of following Jesus in our own power.
On Thursday night, Nisan 15, 30 AD Jesus had his last Passover meal with his twelve apostles. He also instituted the first Lord’s Supper. After a lengthy meal, which included discussion, teaching, and prayer, Jesus and the eleven apostles went to the Mount of Olives, where they planned to spend the night. When they arrived, Jesus went further and spent time in prayer before Judas came and betrayed him to the religious authorities. Jesus was arrested and led away, and at this point we learn about Peter’s denial of Jesus.
Let’s read about Peter’s denial of Jesus in Luke 22:54-62:
54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:54-62)
In 1995, an American scientist named Clifford Stoll boldly predicted that the Internet would be just another passing fad. He wrote an article for Newsweek titled, “The Internet? Bah!” Here’s what Stoll said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio:
I expect the value of the Internet for communications in general isn’t very high. I don’t think it will ever replace face to face meetings and real rallies – things that get commitment and involvement from people. Rather, it induces a very shallow. . . involvement and as such, I think it’s grossly over-promoted and there’s a great deal of hyperbole surrounding it.
I think it’s grossly oversold and within two or three years people will shrug and say, “Uh yep, it was a fad of the early 90’s and now, oh yeah, it still exists but hey, I’ve got a life to lead and work to do. I don’t have time to waste online.” Or, “I’ll collect my email, I’ll read it, why should I bother prowling around the Worldwide Web. . .” simply because there’s so little of value there.
Well, Stoll presumed to know what would happen with the Internet, and he was, of course, very wrong!
When Jesus was with his apostles in the furnished Upper Room having the last Passover meal and first Lord’s Supper, he told Peter that Satan had demanded to have him, that he might sift him like wheat. But, Jesus said, he had prayed for Peter that his faith might not fail him. In reply, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33). Peter was completely sincere. He did not think that his faith would fail him. But that was a very dangerous presumption, as we shall learn. For Peter’s faith did fail him. And as Jesus predicted, before the rooster crowed later that morning, Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus.
Commentator Kent Hughes notes, “We often see this kind of presumption in a naturally gifted athlete who finds it hard to listen to coaching advice because he feels no need. Sadly, the sidelines are strewn with has-beens who refused to learn from the wisdom of others and never developed the technique and understanding they needed. Perceived natural strength can be a disadvantage – especially in spiritual matters.”
We are in great spiritual danger when we think that we are beyond ability to fail. Peter presumed that his faith would never fail him, and that he would follow Jesus to prison and even to death. And he said this after Jesus had warned him that Satan demanded to have him and sift him like wheat. That is massive presumption about his ability to follow Jesus in his own power.
Peter’s denial of Jesus in Luke 22:54-62 shows us the danger of following Jesus in our own power.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Path to the Denials (22:54-55)
2. The Particulars in the Denials (22:56-60a)