* ? !
NEED: We all have something we say we believe in, but what happens when we are tested and fail? Do we give up and walk away for good?
SUBJECT: Peter believes in himself and he is tested…and he fails. What can we learn from shattered faith?
PREVIEW: Sometimes tests help us realize where our belief is actually placed. Peter trusted in himself, his sword, and his strength. All of them failed…now what?
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. 55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. 57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’ ” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. 66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. 68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway. 69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 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.” 71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” 72 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.
* Illegal Trial
i. It was at night - context clues
ii. It was on the eve of a festival - passover
iii. No attempt was made to prove Jesus innocent - vs. 63
iv. A capital case could not be decided the same day as the trial - vs. 64
v. Two witnesses required for conviction - vs. 56; 63
vi. They met at Caiaphas’ house, not the temple - vs. 53
[it is obvious that they weren’t interested in the truth, they just wanted to keep their power. It reminds me of the parable of the vineyard owner who hired tenants and they ended up killing his servants and even His Son so they could keep the inheritance…they wanted to keep their power, not rule justly.]
? Inquisitive girl
i. She recognized Peter…he’s not supposed to be there…he denies knowing Jesus [vs. 54 Peter wasn’t tryin’ to be seen here…]
ii. She mentions it to a few others…he denies knowing Jesus [she turns to others and points him out…]
iii. The bystanders recognize Peter…he denies knowing Jesus [the others recognize him too, it became obvious that he didn’t belong there.]
! Indignant fisherman
! Indignant fisherman
i. The first time Peter was like, hey be cool girl…I’m trying to keep a low profile
ii. The second time he was like, no really, I could get in trouble if they recognize me
iii. The third time he was like I swear by my great aunt edna that I don’t know this Jesus!
iv. He hears the rooster crow and realized that he just did exactly what Jesus warned him about…he denied even knowing Jesus… [people may have understood if he just stood up and said, hey I didn’t know what this guy was doing, I thought He was someone else…
But instead he denies even knowing Him. Luke 22:61 tells us that Jesus looked up at Peter as he denied Him]
Jesus warned Peter that he was going to deny Him…but Peter went as far as to say that he would follow Jesus into death! I almost feel like Jesus was trying to help Peter. Almost like He was saying don’t put that on yourself Peter…I already know. But Peter insists that he will never deny Jesus.
Before you judge Peter too harshly, understand that in his mind a week ago he was riding with the savior of Israel, the guy who was going to make everything right again…and He was, just not the way Peter or anyone else expected. He is crushed. His entire life just came crashing down in just a few hours.
How would you respond? Maybe you have gone through crisis before, maybe your life has been turned upside down, maybe it will be soon…but the question is are you going to run to Jesus or from Him?
Are you going to put the full weight of you trust on Him or are you going to look for another way out? Because Peter said a few hours ago that He would never betray Jesus and then the rooster crowed and before he knew it, he was swearing that he never even met Jesus.
How did Peter get here? What do you think he could’ve done to be more prepared? What did Jesus tell Peter a few verses ago? (watch and pray, so that you don’t fall into temptation)
If we want to be prepared for trials we can’t just pray when we have a really hard test or when our friend or family member gets sick…it’s always good to pray, but sometimes we use God as a hotline instead of a lifeline.
What I mean by that is we wait until we’ve tried everything else and then ask God…instead of spending time with God on a regular basis we wait until a moment of crisis. We don’t stay connected, we connect when we need help.
BIG IDEA: If we wait until we need help from God to pray we have already lost. God can work it out, and He often works miracles but we miss out on the peace and fellowship with Him when we use Him as a hotline instead of a lifeline.
Whose account is this story again? Peter, Mark wrote it down. Why do you think Peter included this incredibly embarrassing story in his story? Because it happened. Because it happens everyday. It could happen to you or me on the way home. A phone call can change your life forever…and Peter says run to Jesus not from Him.
Don’t just look for a distraction to help get your mind off of your troubles, look to Jesus. Listen to worship music, read His Word, pray and let Him ease your mind, don’t just occupy it with garbage until you fall asleep again.
Because Peter’s story doesn’t end here. He doesn’t deny Jesus and vanish from the pages of history. Yeah he messed up, but Jesus welcomed him back and used him in mighty ways. Go read the book of Acts, Peter is a central figure in the early church.
And (according to Christian tradition) when it came time for Peter to die he didn’t say I don’t know Him, he says I’m not worthy to die like He did, hang me upside down on my cross because I’m not Him, but I know Him…and He transformed my life. He did follow Jesus into death after all. After falling asleep in the garden, after denying that he ever knew Him, after turning his back on Jesus and going back to his day job.
Jesus restores him and he follows Jesus even unto death, sure he got off track, but he didn’t stay there.
If you’ve run away from God, He’s not mad at you, He’s waiting for you. He is waiting to welcome you back with open arms, but you’ve got to get over yourself and embrace Him. Stop running away from Him, and run to Him. Don’t be like JR Smith, when the game is on the line run towards the goal…not away from it.
Do you think we as christians can be prone to wander away from God? Why?
What answer best fits your prayer life? (daily, weekly, monthly, other)
When is it easier to pray, when life is easy or hard? Why?
What are some practical ways we can run toward God instead of away from Him?