Peter's Denial Of Christ
We come this morning to examine the moral failure of the Apostle Peter. He represents the failure of a true believer. Judas represents the failure of a false believer and their outcomes are entirely different. Someone has said, "When you fall, don't get up too quickly. Stay down long enough to learn from your failure." Today, we want to learn from Peter's failure in hopes the lessons can steer us on the road to victory instead of defeat.
I. JESUS PREDICTS PETER'S DENIAL Mark 14:27-31
ALL WILL FALL AWAY v.27-28
Offended (Greek: "scandalized"), stumble, desert me.
"Scattered" v.27. "everyone deserted him and fled" v.50
STRIKE THE SHEPHERD
"for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'"
"strike" means kill Ü "after I have risen" v.28
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Jn 10:11
In war time, enemy snipers always try to kill the generals first because it causes great havoc.
"But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee." v.28
They need to know they will not be rejected. Not because it was a small thing Ü faithful
PETER'S SELF-CONFIDENCE v.29-31
His first statement: "Even if all fall away, I will not." v.29.
He compared himself to the others Ü strongest physically and bravest morally.
"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Co 3:5
He looked down on the others for their weaknesses and elevated himself because of his strengths.
He failed to understand what God can do for those who are weak.
"Who by faith conquered kingdoms,shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned into strength; and who became powerful in battle." Heb 11:34 (my paraphrase).
When you elevate yourself you will always look down on others.
His second statement: "But Peter insisted emphatically, Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." v.31
Even if I have to pay the ultimate sacrifice.
To die for Jesus rather than to deny him is the one thing a genuine believer would be expected to do.
"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." Re 2:10
"I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained." Re 6:9
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses (martyrs) in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Ac 1:8
John the Baptist, Stephen the first deacon of the new church, and all twelve apostles except John. Many of the early Christians lost their life because they refused to deny Jesus. Foxes Book of Martyrs.
Peter was a strong believer, one of the strongest. He loved Christ and wanted to give his all for the Savior. His heart was in the right place. He felt strong within himself, physically capable, resourceful, and determined.
This is what happens when people get whipped into a frenzy, who artificially feel they can conquer the world.
J It is like the Manic Depressive: When they are in the depressed state they can hardly get out of bed, but when they are in the manic state, they are full of adrenaline, their courage rises and they go to extremes.
"Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." Pr 16:18
"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!"
1 Co 10:12
Our problem is that we do not know how we will act under extreme pressure.
II. PETER DISOWNS JESUS Mark 14:66-72
PETER''S THREE DENIALS v.66-71
He had abundant cause for fear
"One of the servant girls."
If he had confessed his connection with Jesus, he would most probably would have had his fate.
His heart was probably palpitating with fear; fear of being recognized, arrested, and kill.
First denial: "I don't know or understand what you're talking about." v.68
Third denial: "He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, I don't know this man you're talking about. " Mk 14:71
In desperation he tries to shake off the questions.
He pronounced a curse upon himself. He said, "God cursed me if what I say is not the truth."
The various ways that we can deny Christ.
Before we judge Peter too severely, we need to examine our own lives. How many times have we denied the Lord and lost opportunities to share the Gospel with others?
How many times have we sat around the camp fire with unbelievers like Peter did and refused to say a word in defence of Christ?
How many Christians never tell there fellow employees their devotion to the Savior.
We can do the same thing Peter did in smaller ways.
PETER'S REPENTANCE v.72
"The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter." Lk 22:61
That look broke Peter's heart. The pity of those eyes. The unveiling of God's compassion in those eyes.
"he broke down and wept ("bitterly" Matt)"
The word for, "broke down" is very strong in Greek. He literally went out and threw himself down on the ground in agony and tears of repentance and remorse as he thought of what he had done.
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow (Judas) brings death." 2 Co 7:10
II. JESUS RESTORES PETER John 21:15-17
Corresponds with three denials
love: service: "feed," "take care of," "feed my sheep."
"follow me" v.19
SUMS UP THE LESSON
No matter how terrible failure, we can repent and return to Christ.
We can take comfort in the thought that the Lord Jesus does not cast off his believing people because of failures and imperfections. Once joined to him by faith, we will never be put away. He is undertaken to save them, notwithstanding all their shortcomings.
"though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand."
"I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death." Php 1:19-20