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Will You Stand With Jesus?

Seeing Jesus Through the Eyes of a Friend.   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Peter Denies Jesus for the first time.

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Introduction
Opening - Lead with a Story! Wonder - How the Friend of the Girl blew off the other girl...
Main Idea - When the Pressures of Faith Push You Around, Where will You Stand?
Transition - Peter, John and all the disciples were under a tremendous amount of pressure as their Lord faced the cruel realities of the Cross. We are often unsympathetic with the disciples. We can tend to be a bit judgmental and prideful when it comes to this significant event in history. In our heart of hearts we think, “I wouldn’t have bailed on Christ like they did.” “If I were there I would have stood by him to the bitter end!” Really? Maybe you would have? As for me, knowing my track record with Jesus…well, lets just say that He’s been far more faithful to me than I’ve been to Him over the course of my Christian walk!
In this passage we see yet another vignette the takes us one step closer to the most important event in human history. And it this part of the story we see an unenviable situation that Peter and John are put in. The focus is on how Peter handles the time that was predicted about him. You remember what Jesus told Peter that he would do.
Matthew 26:31–35 ESV
Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.
Jesus said it would happen and now we are in the beginning stages of seeing it unfold. And in the unfolding there are two questions that emerge. Two questions that we, as followers of Christ should grapple with. Two questions that should cause us to have less of a judgmental spirit with Peter and the disciples. So take the text with me this morning as you consider when the pressures of Faith push you around, where will you stand?
The first question is...
1. Will you Stand for Truth or Linger in Curiosity? (Vs 15-16)
We’ve all been there. The moment of truth comes, the point of action (whatever it is) is at our door and indecisiveness and passivity take over and rule the day!
*Pic of guy popping the question...
How many times have guys determine to pop the question to their girlfriend only to come up with a thousand reasons why “now is not the best time.” And everyone of those reasons trails back to fear!
Look at verses 15-16...
John 18:15–16 ESV
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.
Explain -
The first thing we see in this part of the story is that “Simon Peter followed Jesus”
It is interesting to see the manner in which Peter followed Jesus. We get a clearer picture with the synoptics...

Matt. 26:58; Mark 14:54; Luke 22:54

Matthew 26:58 ESV
58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.
Mark 14:54 ESV
54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire.
Luke 22:54 ESV
54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance.
Do you see the common denominator? “At a distance.”
Gone is the brash, bold Peter who clumsily lopped off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High priest.
No longer was Peter willing to take on the cohort of Roman soldiers.
Instead of the raw, unashamed, unpolished courage of Peter the bold, we now see amore subdued, timid version of this fisherman. One where He is getting his bearings in very unfamiliar circumstances.
One where He is getting his bearings in very unfamiliar circumstances. One where curiosity of what will happen is taking precedents over rescuing his Rabbi from certain death. In fact, what we see here is the insidious nature of self-preservation creeping in. Peter is becoming more concerned about saving His skin!
One where curiosity of what will happen is taking precedents over rescuing his Rabbi from certain death. In fact, what we see here is the insidious nature of self-preservation creeping in. Peter is becoming more concerned about saving His skin!
What is also interesting is to see the next phrase, “Simon Peter followed Jesus and so did another disciple...” Who is this other disciple? None other than John himself. He never refers to himself by name. He often refers to himself as...
, , and , ).
John 13:23 ESV
One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,
John 19:26 ESV
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”
, and , ).
John 20:2 ESV
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
John 21:7 ESV
That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
and , ).
John 21:7 ESV
That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
Why does John not refer to himself by his name? Well, a very special reason...
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John 21:20 ESV
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”
I think it is because he was so taken aback with the glorious reality that Jesus loved him...The God /man loved John!! John never got over this fact. It so moved him that this is how he would rather be known in his writings…
).
Probably a better reason is because he was taken aback with the glorious reality that Jesus loved John. The God /man loved John and John never got over this fact. It so moved him that this is how he would rather be known in his writings…
Imagine, “Hello, my name is Jesus loves me!”
In this situation, John, as he is writing this account about Peter’s betrayal, wants everyone to know that he was right there with Peter and failed too.
So why does John include himself in this narrative when the other gospels don’t?
First, to tell the truth...
Second, to fill in the gaps from the synoptics...
Third, to let people know, Peter wasn’t alone in this denial process. After all, he was the one who brought Peter into the courtyard! He put him in a very challenging situation!
By the way, the text says Peter and John followed Jesus. Check out the map. They followed Jesus to the High Priest’s courtyard.
*Show map*
Keep in mind, this was not in the temple, but on the other-side of the temple. This is the palace that Annas (the lifetime high priest) and Caiaphas (the current, functioning high priest) both lived. Probably one in one wing of the palace and one in the other.
So I hope you get the picture...
The high priest “lived in the Hasmonean palace on the west hill of the city, which overlooked the Tyropoeon Valley and faced the temple. It is possible that Caiaphas and Annas lived in the same palace, occupying different wings bound together by a common courtyard.”
Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 514.
So I hope you get the picture...
Moving through verse 15 and into 16 do you see anything else that is significant? Take a look again...
John 18:15–16 ESV
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.
The text says that John is in the know! Somehow, he has a relationship with the High Priest (either Annas or Caiaphas). And He went in to gain permission for Peter to enter the courtyard as well. Until that permission was granted, Peter needed to stay outside the courtyard...

Theories—such as, that John was a distant relative, or that his father’s firm delivered fish to the highpriest’s palace (the view of Nonnus, an Egyptian scholar, about 400 A.D.)—are nothing but guesses. It is important, nevertheless, to bear in mind the fact as such (that John was known to the highpriest).

Eventually, John was able to get Peter cleared with the powers that be and so he joined John in the courtyard.
Why is all of this detail necessary and significant? How does it fit into the main idea of the text? Because in this vignette, we see the stage being set for Peter’s denial. He is not there on a rescue mission. He is not there to stand with Jesus and be martyred for his faith in the messiah. John isn’t either. They are they as bystanders waiting to see what will happen to their Lord.
Don’t get me wrong, this must have been a very confusing time for these boys. Knowing the right thing to do in these tense situations can be confusing at best. But the fact remains, Peter and John were not there to stand with Jesus, they were there to see what would happen to their Lord!
Illustrate -
On 7 May, the Tangerang District Court in Indonesia sentenced Reverend Abraham Ben Moses to four years in prison and issued him a 50 million Rupiah fine ($3500) for religious defamation. If he cannot afford to pay the fine, “it can be replaced with a one-month prison term...
Abraham Ben Moses, also known as Saifuddin Ibrahim, is a well-known former Muslim and Christian apologist in Indonesia. He was active in Internet evangelism and debates with Muslim groups.
Abraham, 53, was arrested on 5 December 2017, after a video showing him sharing his faith with a Muslim taxi driver was widely circulated. In the video, he can be heard speaking with the taxi driver about the Prophet Mohammad’s teachings on marriage. He can also be heard asking the driver to convert to Christianity.
Hannelee Groen-ewald - In 2003 Her husband, Werner and two children 5 and 3 answered to the call to stand for truth by moving to Afghanistan. In 2017 the Taliban shot and killed Werner, and now teenage children, Jean-Pierre and Rodé in their home. The Taliban then burned their home.
According to Jakarta Post, Damis said that “Abraham was convicted under Electronic and Information Transactions Law No. 11/2008 as he intentionally spread information intended to incite hatred against an individual, group and society based on religion
“It is easy for us as Christians to worship the Lord on Sundays in church and praise Him, but it is difficult to have a heartfelt obedience to the Lord and go when He calls you,” she said. “I believe there is a price tag attached to being a real born-again believer. Jesus Christ was persecuted Himself. He was crucified and we, his students, we are nothing better than He is or He was. It will happen to us as well if you really live a lifestyle that is like that of a born-again believer following the Lord in obedience. There will be a price to pay.”
Although the verdict was more lenient than the prosecutors’ demand of a five-year prison term, Abraham’s legal team plans to file for an appeal.
A Muhammadiyah official Pedri Kasman admitted that he was content about the verdict. “This decision should be appreciated and should serve as a valuable lesson for all parties,” he said.
Sources: International Christian Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
“We had a clear calling,” she said. “We had a mandate with this; we counted the cost. We knew that something like this could happen. God allowed that for a reason.
In a message to Indonesian Christians, Abraham’s wife Ayu asked Christians to “pray for pastor Abraham’s punishment to be lighter.” Ayu, was pregnant when he was arrested, and she gave birth to their daughter while her husband remained imprisoned. Abraham also has four adult children from his first marriage.
Sources: International Christian Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
Sources: International Christian Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
Sources: International Christian Concern, The Voice of the Martyrs USA
Abraham Ben Moses stood for truth as he sat in the back of the cab sharing his faith...
The Groen-ewald family stood for truth and it got three of them killed.
Standing for truth and refusing to simply linger in the background has a price tag. Lingering is cheap and easy. Standing will cost you dearly. But it is worth the price!
There is something very powerful we can take away for ourselves this morning. When your faith pushes you around, where will you stand? In other words, when you are called to stand for your Lord, will you? Or will you just look on from a distance trying to see what will happen to your Lord?
Illustrate -
Apply - How to take a stand for Truth instead of just Linger in curiosity...
Give 5 ways to be bold and stand for truth...
John, on the other hand, was the only male disciple to stay through the Crucifixion
Take a stand by handing out the True Life Cards to friends and family who need Jesus.
Take a stand by Inviting your friends to church
Take a stand by asking someone to do a bible study (cultivate relationships with unbelievers)
Take a stand socially - W2W - Parents standing for a Biblical truth in our public schools in our own community. A stand against the ideology of gender fluidity.
Take a stand by getting involved in a local outreach ministry that engages people who need Jesus. (Love INC, FLC, Positive options, Forgotten Man Ministry, etc.) Doing this will put you in a position where you will have to stand for truth!
Review - When the Pressure of Faith Push You Around, Where will You Stand?
When the Pressure of Faith Push You Around, Where will You Stand?
Will you Stand for Truth or Linger in Curiosity?
2. Will You Stand for Christ or Remain Incognito? (Vs 17-18)
Truth be told, I have opted for incognito more times than I care to admit. It’s just easier to not say anything and blend into the crowd. Unfortunately, that is the path Peter took as well. And it was a path that would eventually bring him great sorrow and regret. Look at the text with me...
John 18:17–18 CSB
17 Then the servant girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not.” he said. 18 Now the servants and the officials had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself.
Explain -
This girl, or young woman was a servant of the high priest and was standing at the door checking people into the courtyard.
Apparently, this doorkeeper was a domestic female slave, probably of mature age, since her role was one of responsibility, requiring judgment and life experience.
Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 514.
This was no timid, shy little girl. She stood right up to the big, burly fisherman, looked him in the eye as he attempted to brush by her into the courtyard and she said, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples are you?”
The CSB says it a little more clearly - “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?”
Peter just didn’t want to draw attention to himself and he quickly answered her in the most regrettable way. A straight up, unadulterated lie!
He said, “I am not.” Three years of walking with Jesus. Listening to His wise teachings; watching Him stand strong in the face of adversity, persecution and accusation; watching him feed the multitudes, heal the lame, give sight to the blind, and give hearing to the deaf; Peter even walked on water with the Lord. Over and over again Peter witnessed Jesus function as the Messiah He claimed to be. Over and over He experienced the fact that Jesus was and is the Son of God! Peter was there on the mount of transfiguration...
Matthew 17:1–8 ESV
1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.
The point is this, Peter did not have a simple and casual relationship with Jesus. Peter knew Him as His Rabbi! He gave up his livelihood, he walked away from his job to follow Jesus. Peter wasn’t simply one of the twelve, he was in the inner circle, one of the three of Jesus’ closest friends (Peter, James and John).
This is the same Peter who, just a few chapters earlier made the bold proclamation that he would give up his life for Jesus...
John 13:37 ESV
37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
And yet, when the game changed and the pressure mounted. When his friend needed him the most to stand with him, when questioned by a servant girl at the gate of the courtyard of the high priest, He buckled! He caved in! Self-preservation kicked in and those horrible, lying words rolled so easily off his tongue. “I am not one of his disciples.” Wow, how those words must have rolled around and echoed in his head after he uttered them as he blended in and stood by the fire to warm himself...
John 18:18 ESV
18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
John
Peter was incognito. He did his level best to no stand out from the crowd, but to blend right in. God forbid someone, especially that pesky servant girl recognize that he was affiliated with the One who would hang for insurrection.
It is ironic that Peter is standing there with the servants and the officers of the High Priest. I’m sure he was sweating bullets hoping no one would press the issue the servant girl raised with him, especially considering the fact that he had, not too long ago, cut the servant of the High-Priest’s ear off!
I can picture Peter slumped over with a hood on, doing his best to no be recognized for who he was, a follower of Jesus.
John 13:37 ESV
37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
John
I can imagine the inner turmoil...
Illustrate - As I have told you on many occasions, I am a recovering people pleaser. I crave the praise of people. If I am not careful, this can become an idol for me. So I am particularly sympathetic to Peter. The truth is I have, over the course of my Christian life I have had my “Peter moments.” I especially struggle with family and friends that I know well. I psych myself up and say, “Okay, this is the day!” “I’m doing this today!” Only to chicken out at the last minute and in affect, deny my Lord by refusing to open my mouth and thus remain incognito.
Apply - Five ways to stick out for Jesus. (Pray for the Spirit’s power to do this…)
Pray for your meal at a restaurant
Give someone your testimony of faith in Jesus. Before Christ, When you met Christ, how life has changed since you met Christ - This week!
Tell someone that you are a follower of Jesus and ask them how you can pray for them.
Post a scripture on social media daily. His Word will not return void and people know where you stand.
Make some muffins and give them to your neighbor. Tell them the reason you are doing this is because you love Jesus and you want to be a good neighbor. (Mormans at our door…convicted by their zeal)
Folks, don’t get to the end of your life and regret your inaction! Take a stand fo Jesus! Stop hiding in the shadows!
Review - When the Pressure of Faith Push You Around, Where will You Stand?
1.
2.
Will you Stand for Truth or Linger in Curiosity?
Explain -
Illustrate -
Apply -
Review -
2. Will You Stand for Christ or Remain Incognito?
1.
2.
3.
Conclusion
Folks, it’s easy to look at this story and get discouraged and frustrated at ourselves for not always standing when we should. But just as we can look to Peter for the negative example, but because of God’s glorious and transforming grace, Peter was a different man later in his life. God’s Spirit and His Word transformed Peter. Listen to these words of Peter from the book of Acts!
Acts 2:22–24 ESV
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
Ways we fail to identify with Jesus
Ways to purposely and boldly identify with Christ
Peter was a different man later in life. How the Truth can transform you!
1 Peter 3:8–18 ESV
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Peter became bold as a lion for the Lord. He, over and over throughout the begining of the book of Acts gave that answer of hope that was rooted deep in his hear. He boldly and joyfully took a stand for his faith and for his Lord. And God used him mightily! Oh, he still had his struggles, but the remainder of His life was characterized by taking a stand for truth and standing strong for Christ, regardless of what life or this world threw at him!
Peter wants us to stand up like he did in the book of Acts!
1 Peter 3:13–18 ESV
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
Listen, you have the same Holy Spirit and same truth available to you that Peter did. I want you to do an evaluation of your Christian walk. Is it characterized more like the Peter warming himself by the fire just satisfying his curiosity about Jesus and doing everything he can to be incognito? Or, are you more like the post resurrection Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, determined to Stand for truth and stand for Christ!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a church full of people who acted like post resurrection Peter? That’s where I want to be, will you join me?
Concluding thought
Invitation
Connection Group Questions
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