Key Lessons from Peter and John in the Hours before the Cross
Key Lessons from Peter and John in the Hours before the Cross
The Gospel of John
John 18:12-18; John 18:24-27
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 9, 2018
(Revised May 18, 2020)
*Please open your Bibles to John 18, as we continue looking at the Lord's final steps to the cross. Last time in vs. 1-11, Jesus and His disciples were in the Garden of Gethsemane, and there Jesus was arrested by an armed force of men.
*The "officers" in vs. 3 were from the two branches of the Jewish police force, but a "band of men" or "detachment of troops" was also there. The original word meant a force of at least 200 men, and usually up to a thousand soldiers. That's who went to arrest Jesus! (1)
 AND IN VS. 4-6, WE SAW THE MIRACULOUS MIGHT OF JESUS CHRIST:
4. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?''
5. They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth.'' Jesus said to them, "I am He.'' And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.
6. Then when He said to them, "I am He,'' they drew back and fell to the ground.
*Maybe with just a thought, or a wave of His hand, Jesus sent that whole army sprawling to the ground! But the Lord didn't do that for Himself. He did it to protect His followers.
*Verses 7-9 say:
7. Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?'' And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth.''
8. Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,''
9. that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.''
 WE SAW THE MIRACULOUS MIGHT OF OUR LORD. -- WE ALSO SAW HIS MIRACULOUS MERCY.
*Verses 10-11 point us to the Lord's great mercy:
10. Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
11. Then Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?''
*The Lord was showing mercy when He told Peter to put up his sword, but Luke 22:51 also tells us that Jesus healed Malchus' ear. There God's Word says Jesus simply "touched his ear and healed him." The Lord showed great mercy on one of the men who came to arrest Him!
*This chapter has two more important topics to cover. Next time, Lord willing, we will cover the trials of Christ. But tonight, we will look at Peter and John in those traumatic hours. And we will see how we might resemble them today.
*God's Word gives us some key lessons from His disciples in the hours before the cross. Let's begin by reading vs. 12-18 and then vs. 24-27.
*Who do you resemble in your family? I've got my mom's chubby cheeks and a bit of my dad's bright blue eyes. My brother Jon and I didn't look exactly alike, but we did sound exactly alike. Our voices were so similar our mother couldn't tell which one of us was on the phone!
*All of us have some family resemblances, if not in our looks, then in our ways, words, likes and habits. So Christians: Let's look at our brothers Peter and John to see if we can see ourselves in them.
1. FIRST, WE SEE PETER AND JOHN FOLLOWING THE LORD.
*Verses 12-15 say:
12. Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.
13. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.
14. Now it was Caiaphas who gave counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
15. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.
*In vs. 15 Peter and John "followed Jesus."
 THAT'S DISCIPLESHIP.
*That's what a disciple does: He follows Jesus Christ, and that's good. Don't you know that it pleases our Heavenly Father, when we follow Jesus? God wants us to be His disciples. He wants us to follow Christ, follow His teachings, follow His ways, follow His wisdom, and follow His heart. (2)
*Fred Craddock gave this great explanation of what it means to follow the Lord, and Craddock said:
"To give my life for Christ appears glorious, to pour myself out for others, to pay the ultimate price of martyrdom: 'I'll do it. I'm ready, Lord, to go out in a blaze of glory.' We think giving our all to the Lord is like taking a $1,000 bill and laying it on the table. 'Here's my life, Lord. I'm giving it all.'
*But the reality for most of us is that He sends us to the bank and has us cash in the $1,000 for quarters. Then, we go through life putting out 25 cents here, and 50 cents there. We listen to the neighbor kid's troubles instead of saying, 'Get lost'. We go to a committee meeting for the church. We give a cup of water to a shaky old man in a nursing home," or we help in VBS. We take some kids to camp. We give so more kids can go to camp.
*"Usually giving our life to Christ isn't glorious in this world at all. Most people won't even notice, because it's done in all those little acts of love, 25 cents at a time." (3)
*What does it mean to follow Christ? Most of the time, it means showing up when you can, to do what you can for the cause of Christ. God wants us to follow Jesus. He wants us to be the Lord's disciples.
 BUT PETER HAD A PROBLEM, AND THAT WAS HIS DISTANCE.
*Yes, Peter was following the Lord. But he wasn't staying as close to the Lord as he should have been. Verses 15-16 tell us that "Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. (Most Bible scholars think this other disciple was John.) Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. . ."
*Peter followed. But he followed at a distance. He wasn't as close to Jesus as he needed to be. Have you ever been there? I know I have.
*How did Peter get there? Well, it started with his overconfidence. And we saw Peter's overconfidence on display earlier this same night. Back in John 13:36-38, God's Word tells us that:
36. Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?'' Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.''
37. Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.''
38. Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times."
*Peter was overconfident. Then there was his lack of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Mark 14:37-43 tells us that Jesus:
37. . . came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?
38. Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.''
39. Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words.
40. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
41. Then He came the third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42. Rise up, let us go. See, My betrayer is at hand.''
43. And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
*In Luke 22:46, Jesus said to them: "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.'' But now the time was up, and Peter wasn't as close to the Lord as he needed to be.
*He needed to get closer to the Lord, and probably all of us would say, "I need to get closer to Jesus too!" We all need to draw closer to Christ.
*Even after he had faithfully served the Lord for many years, the Apostle Paul still wanted to get closer to Jesus. In Philippians 3:10-14, Paul great desire was:
10. that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
11. if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
*Christians: That's what God wants us to do: Follow Jesus. Be His disciples. Get as close to the Lord as we can. And keep pressing on.
*Just like Peter here, we need to get closer to Jesus, but we do see Peter following the Lord.
2. WE ALSO SEE PETER'S FRIENDS.
*In vs. 16, "Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in." Every Christian needs someone like the Apostle John in their life. Every Christian needs godly friends who will come to them and help them, especially in those times when we fall short.
*We all need friends like John, but we also need to be friends like John: Going out of our way to help our brothers and sisters in Christ.
*Peter had a good Christian friend, and hopefully we do too! But even if we didn't have another friend in this world, we would still have the greatest Friend of all!
*Our Best Friend is the one who was on trial that night! Our Best Friend is the one who was about to die on the cross for our sins. What a friend we have in Jesus! What a friend we have in our crucified and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! And here we see Peter's friends.
3. BUT WE ALSO SEE PETER'S FAILURE.
*First in vs. 17-18:
17. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?'' He said, "I am not.''
18. And the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.
*Then in vs. 24-27:
24. Then Annas sent Him (Jesus) bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
25. Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?'' He denied it and said, "I am not!''
26. One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?''
27. Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.
*Matthew 26:69-74 gives us some different details. There God's Word says:
69. Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee.''
70. But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying.''
71. And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.''
72. But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!''
73. And after a while those who stood by came to him and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, because your speech betrays you.''
74. Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!'' And immediately a rooster crowed.
*On that terrible night, Peter strongly denied the Lord 3 different times. And as I thought about this, I don't think I could do that. I don't think I could deny Jesus Christ. And I may be wrong, but I don't think any true Christian could deny the Lord today.
*That's not because we are better than Peter. It's because we have the amazing grace of getting to live on the resurrection side of the cross! Praise God, it's because we now have an invisible source of inner strength. It's because after our Risen Savior returned to Heaven and was glorified, God sent His Holy Spirit to dwell in everyone who would receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
*Christians: It's because God the Father and God the Son are living in our hearts right now by the Holy Spirit. And God will give us the strength to stay true to Jesus. He will even give us the words to say. The Lord promised to give us the right words in Matthew 10:17-20. There Jesus said:
17. . . "Beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.
18. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
20. for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you."
*Christians: I don't believe that we would ever deny Jesus today, but all of us have failed the Lord in other ways. And all of us have missed opportunities to tell other people about Jesus. God wants us to take a bold stand for our Lord and Savior every way we possibly can.
*But here we see Peter's failure. Thank God, that wasn't the end of the story!
4. PETER ALSO FOUND OUT THAT FAILURE ISN'T FINAL!
*In tonight's Scripture we see one of God's finest servants at his worst. But Peter found out that failure isn't final. How did he do it? How did Peter bounce back? The answer in short is Jesus!
 YOU SEE, PETER HAD ALREADY HEARD SOME REASSURING WORDS FROM THE LORD.
*It happened in Luke's Gospel just before Jesus told Peter how he was going to utterly fail the Lord that night. The agonies of the cross were still ahead, but Jesus was already looking forward to His resurrection. And He gave a special word of encouragement to Peter.
*In Luke 22:31-32, "The Lord said, 'Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.'''
*Peter heard some more reassuring words on the first glorious Easter morning when Jesus rose again from the dead. Peter was singled out by the angel at the empty tomb. Mark 16:5-7, tells us that when the women entered the empty tomb:
5. . . They saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6. But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
7. But go and tell His disciples AND PETER that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.''
*How did Peter bounce back? He heard some reassuring words from God. And Christians, so will we!
 BUT PETER ALSO HEARD SOME CHALLENGING WORDS FROM GOD.
*It happened on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after Jesus rose again from the dead. We will see in John 21 that Peter dove into the water to race to Jesus as fast as he could. Then he heard the challenging words of the Lord's three questions: "Do you love me?" "Do you love me?" "Do you love me?"
*How did Peter bounce back? He heard some challenging words from the Lord. And Church, so will we.
 BUT PETER ALSO RECEIVED THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD.
*That was in Acts 2, as the Holy Spirit came with the sound of a mighty rushing wind. And Peter never denied the Lord again. In fact, when Peter was hauled before the same men who crucified Christ, Peter boldly spoke the truth about Jesus.
*Acts 4:5-12 says:
5. And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,
6. as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.
7. And when they had set them (i.e. Peter and John) in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?''
8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:
9. If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well,
10. let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.
11. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'
12. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.''
*How did Peter bounce back? He received the Holy Spirit of God. And Christians, so have we!
*Can you see the family resemblance tonight? Are you following the Lord? Great! But draw closer.
*And be a friend like John. Help other people get closer to Jesus.
*Also remember that failure isn't final! The same Jesus who turned Peter's life around can turn your life around too!
*Let's ask Him to do it, as we go back to God in prayer.
(1) Adapted from the BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES - NT by William Barclay - "The Arrest in the Garden - John18:1-11"
(2) VINE'S COMPLETE EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF NEW TESTAMENT WORDS - W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr. - Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville TN - Copyright 1984, 1996
(3) KERUX ILLUSTRATION COLLECTION - ID Number: 2687 - SOURCE: Leadership Vol. 5, no. 4 - TITLE: The Practical Implications Of Consecration - AUTHOR: Darryl Bell, Maple Grove, Minnesota - DATE: 1984 Fall