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Summary: THIS IS THE SECOND IN A PRE-EASTER SERIES ON THE CHARACTERS OF EASTER. THIS SERMON IS ON PETER AND HOW HE HAS MUCH IN COMMON WITH JUDAS, AND US.

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PETER’S DALLYING WITH DENIAL

MARK 14:27-31; 66-72

TODAY WE ARE CONTINUING OUR SERIES LEADING UP TO EASTER BY LOOKING AT SOME OF THE CHARACTERS AND EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD. LAST WEEK WE BEGAN BY LOOKING AT JUDAS, AND THIS WEEK WE ARE GOING TO CONSIDER PETER AND HIS ACTIONS. IT MAY SURPRISE YOU TO REALIZE HOW SIMILAR THEIR ACTIONS ARE.

PETER’S DENIAL OF JESUS WAS A FORM OF PERSONAL BETRAYAL. THE PRIMARY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO IS THAT JUDAS’ WAS DEFINITELY INTENTIONAL, AND CONCENSUS IS THAT PETER’S DENIAL WAS NOT PLANNED BUT IN REACTION TO THE EVENTS OF THE ARREST. HE FEARED FOR HIS LIFE.

BOTH MEN WERE SORRY FOR WHAT THEY DID, BUT ONLY JUDAS’ TRIED IMMEDIATELY TO CORRECT HIS ACTIONS. HE WENT TO THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS CLAIMING JESUS’ INNOCENSE AND TRIED TO GIVE THE MONEY BACK, BUT WAS UNSUCCESSFUL. HE DID NOT ASK FOR FORGIVENESS AND EVENTUALLY COMMITTED SUICIDE.

PETER’S DENIAL WAS DECEPTIVE. IT HAD NO IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES TO JESUS’ TRIAL AS JUDAS’ DID, BUT LED TO MUCH PERSONAL TORMENT. IN FACT PETER’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD WASN’T RESTORED UNTIL AFTER THE RESURRECTION.

ONE OTHER THING THE TWO HAD IN COMMON WAS THE TREMEMDOUS GUILT THAT THEY FELT FOR THEIR ACTIONS. IT WAS THEIR GUILT THAT MADE THEM THINK THEY COULD NOT HAVE FORGIVENESS. THEY WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS, BUT THIS ENTIRE SITUATION WAS UNDER THE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF GOD. SEVERAL TIMES IN THE PASSION NARRATIVES WE READ THESE WORDS “TO FULFILL WHAT THE SCRIPTURES SAID”. JESUS KNEW EVERYTHING THAT WOULD LEAD UP TO THE CRUCIFIXION, AND SUBMITTED TO IT OUT OF HIS LOVE FOR US, AND HIS OBEDIENCE TO HIS FATHER.

BACKGROUND OF PETER

PETER WAS A GALILEAN, AND ONE OF THE EARLIEST CHOSEN BY CHRIST TO FOLLOW HIM. IT WAS RIGHT AFTER HIS BAPTISM THAT ANDREW BROUGHT PETER TO JESUS. IT WAS THERE ON THE SHORES OF THE SEA OF GALILEE THAT PETER WOULD GIVE UP HIS FISHING BUSINESS, AND BECOME AS JESUS SAID A “FISHER OF MEN”

HE WOULD BE SEEN AS THE LEADER OF THE APOSTLES AND ON MANY OCCASIONS WAS THEIR SPOKESMAN. NEXT TO PAUL, PETER MAY ARGUABLY BE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL APOSTLE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

PETER WOULD BECOME A PART OF THE “INNER CIRCLE” ALONG WITH JAMES AND JOHN, THE “SONS OF THUNDER. THEY WOULD BE PRESENT ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION, AND THEY WERE ASKED FO FOLLOW JESUS DEEPER INTO THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMENE ON THE NIGHT OF HIS BETRAYAL TO PRAY FOR HIM.

PETER WAS A PROUD AND IMPULSIVE PERSON, AS CAN BE SEEN FROM STATEMENTS HE MADE BEFORE JESUS’ ARREST.

MATTHEW 16:16: SIMON PETER ANSWERED, “YOU ARE THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”

JOHN 13:37: 37 PETER ASKED, “LORD, WHY CAN’T I FOLLOW YOU NOW? I WILL LAY DOWN MY LIFE FOR YOU.”

SOME PEOPLE MAY TRULY BE ABLE TO SAY THESE WORDS AND MEAN THEM, BUT PETER FALLS INTO A CATEGORY OF PEOPLE THAT MANY STILL BELONG TO TODAY. THIS CATEGORY SPEAKS OF HOW THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE, BUT IN REALITY FALL FAR SHORT OF THE MARK.

THE BEST TIME TO BE A CHRISTIAN, IS AT CHURCH ON SUNDAY MORNING. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FACE CHALLENGES TO YOUR FAITH. YOU WILL SINGS SONGS OF ENCOURAGEMENT, BE LIFTED UP IN PRAYER, AND BE INSTRUCTED IN THE FAITH. PETER WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF JESUS AND THE DISCIPLES WHEN HE MADE THESE STATEMENTS.

IT CAN BECOME DIFFICULT TO LIVE FOR CHRIST IN THE DAY-TO-DAY WORLD. WE FACE CHALLENGES AT WORK, FROM OUR FAMILY, FROM SOCIETY, AND SOMETIMES THE EASIEST WAY TO DEAL WITH THOSE TEMPTATIONS IS SIMPLY TO SAY “I DON’T KNOW” WHEN IN FACT YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD TAKE A STAND. IN SHORT YOU DENY YOUR FAITH, AND BETRAY YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.

PETER AND THE OTHER DISCIPLES RODE ON THE CHARISMA OF JESUS. PEOPLE CAME FROM MILES AROUND TO HEAR HIM TEACH AND RECEIVE HEALING. JESUS WAS RECEIVED WARMLY AND POSITIVELY BY THE CROWDS AND SO WERE PETER AND THE OTHER DISCIPLES WHO FOLLOWED HIM. NOW THEY WOULD HAVE TO STAND ON THEIR OWN IN A VERY HOSTILE ATMOSPHERE AND THEY WERE VERY SCARED.

TODAY WE WALK THAT SAME ROAD. THERE IS GREAT OPPOSITION TO THE CHURCH, AND SOME CHURCHES RESPOND TO IT BY DENYING BIBLICAL PRINCIPES. THEY DENY THE AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURE, PREACH UNIVERSAL SALVATION, SAY THERE IS NO HELL, AND THAT MANY ROADS CAN LEAD TO GOD. NO LONGER IS SIN CALLED SIN.

WITH THAT AS BACKGROUND TO PETER AND HOW WE CAN RELATED TO HIM, LETS LOOK AT THE CONTEXT OF THE PASSAGE.

CONTEXT:

THE CONTEXT OF THIS PASSAGE GOES BACK TO THE TIME OF THE LAST SUPPER. AN ATTITUDE THAT PETER HAS DEVELOPED WHILE WALKING WITH JESUS IS SUPERIORITY AND PRIDE. HE FEELS HE CAN SAY AND DO ANYTHING. AFTER THE TIME OF THE LAST SUPPER ALL THIS WILL CHANGE.

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