Summary: A sermon on Peter’s three denials: It is a call to understand that God gives us second chances in life and we aren’t to squander them.
The Power of a Second Chance
April 2, 2003
Pastor Lynn Floyd
Introduction: Read Mark 14:27-31, 66-72 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: “’I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again, he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
The New Testament tells us more about Peter than any other disciple of Jesus. He is portrayed as the spokesman for the group of disciples. Like many of us, Peter’s life was characterized by peaks, valleys, highs and lows, ups and downs. We can all certainly related to Peter’s life.
Surrounding the context of these verses the Lord’s Supper had just taken place. They find themselves now on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane and soon Jesus will go to the cross. It is obvious by the Gospel writer’s account that the disciples just simply don’t realize what all is going on in Jesus’ life. Peter in all of his boldness and confidence says, “Even if everyone else loses their confidence in you, I will not.” Verse 31 says Peter insisted emphatically that he wouldn’t disown the Lord even if it cost him his life. Although very noble and admirable of Peter his statements were very dangerous assumptions.
TRANSITION: I wonder how many “I will nevers” you and I have said in our lifetimes? Most of us have probably thought about it in regards to different things. “This can never happen to me.” Let’s be very careful when we begin thinking and saying that. We are weak, sinful people. One minute without living under the banner of truth can prove disastrous. Outside of Christ we are capable of anything.
ILLUSTRATION: Who would have ever thought that King David, a man after God’s own heart gave in to adultery. Did he ever say, “this could never happen to me?” We won’t ever know. But if David can slip into sins’ grip so can we. The divorce rate among churched couples is just as high as it is for non-churched couples. The sexual acts among churched teens is unfortunately high so is the amount of drug and alcohol abuse. All of these are a part of the churched culture.
Jesus speaks directly to Peter in a sobering way and says “yes, this very night you will deny me. Even before the rooster crows two times you will deny me three times”
TRANSITION: I find it very interesting that this conversation ends so quickly. There was no further dialogue about it. It is as if there is a hush that came over them all. So, Jesus and the disciples go into Gethsemane. As the Lord comes to terms with the will of the Father he exhorts his three closet followers to watch and pray with him. Unfortunately, they cannot keep their eyes open and stay awake. Jesus is soon arrested by a mob led by the disciples very own Judas. When they take Jesus into custody the disciples turn and fled in all different directions—just as Jesus predicted.
In Mark 14:53-65 Jesus is taken before the Sanhedrin where he has to answer to the charges brought against him that he is claiming to be the Son of God. Jesus responds confidently, “I am.”
Compare these verses with verses 66-72. The focus shifts from Jesus to Peter. Mark is giving us a stark contrast. On the one hand we see the faithfulness of Jesus as he stood faithful to his identity and mission. On the other hand we see the failure of Peter who denied his identity as Jesus’ disciple.