And Peter (written May 2006)
Mark 14:27-31, 66-72, 16:1-8
Tonight we read about Peter. Peter was one of the disciples to whom Jesus had said, follow me. Peter was often so sure of himself. In the past Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. In our passage, this Jesus prophesied that Peter and all the other disciples would stumble, and that Peter would deny Christ. Peter was quick to react. Peter vehemently claimed that he would not deny Christ. Peter was so sure of himself.
It was not long until Peter had denied Christ. He was so sure he would never deny Christ. How deceived he was. We can be quick to think that surely Peter should have known better. But how many off us are any better then Peter. How many of us think that we are pretty good people, good enough that God will accept us. Certainly, we are not like those who lie, steal, cheat and murder. We take comfort in thinking that we are not that bad.
But what does the Bible teach us. Jesus taught in His sermon from the mount that to just get angry at your brother without just cause makes one guilty of murder. According to Jesus, we are all guilty of murder. Jesus taught that for a man to look upon a women in a lustful way means that the man has already committed adultery with her in his heart. How many of us have sinned in our hearts? According to Jesus we are all murderers and adulterers. The prophet Isaiah teaches us that before God’s holy standard even our most righteous deeds are like filthy rages. Paul teaches us in Romans that there is none righteous no not one. Any of us who think, as Peter did, that we are basically good enough, that based on our goodness God will accept us, are sadly mistaken.
Not long after Peter so boldly said that he would not be made to stumble, we find him in the courtyard near where Jesus was standing trial. Peter’s resolve did not last long. He gets asked if he is one of those who was with Jesus. Peter swore that he did not know Jesus? How could Peter do this? Had he not confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. How could he deny Jesus Christ? Did he not remember the miracles that Jesus had done? Did he not remember the things Jesus had taught?
Let us not be too quick to pass judgement on Peter. Let us look at ourselves. Have we ever denied Christ? I would never do that, you say. What about when you are watching a movie or listening to the radio and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ is taken in vain, or used flippantly? What do you do? Do you raise an objection, walk out of the movie or turn it off? Or do you let this slip by, in such a way, that no one would know that you even cared? When we do nothing when our Lord’s name is degraded, are we not denying Him? What about when our conscience tells us that the Lord does not want us to do something and we ignore our conscience and do it anyway? Are we not denying the Lord Jesus Christ? How about when we eagerly pick up the news paper, a magazine or the latest novel and only occasionally read the Bible, the Word of the Lord? Are we not denying our Lord? Every time we sin, no matter how small we are, in some way, denying the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter’s boldness did not last. As Jesus had prophesied, before the rooster crowed twice Peter had denied Christ three times. With the second crow of the rooster, Peter was brought to his senses. His eyes were opened. Oh, what had he done? He wept. Matthew, Luke and John all say that Peter wept bitterly. Those of us who know ourselves well will realize how much like Peter we are. Far too often, we live and talk as though the things Jesus taught are not very important, as though Jesus Himself is not important. We should, also, weep bitterly like Peter did. Have you ever wept over the fact that you so easily sin? Have you ever wept over your denial of the Lord Jesus Christ?
If you think that your sin is not too bad and that there is no reason to weeping over your sin, then thake heed. Jesus said, during His time on earth, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees you will by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven. If you see not reason to weep over your sin, you are in grave danger, in danger of Hell’s fire.
Next, notice that Jesus did not desert Peter. Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him. Rather then put Peter aside for someone more loyal, He had warned Peter that he would fall. Then, He brought Peter to his senses by the crowing of the rooster. Luke records that right after the rooster crowed for the second time that the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Jesus caught Peters eye. Jesus was concerned about Peter. Jesus opened Peter’s eyes. Oh what that must have been like for Peter. Peter wept bitterly. Those of us who realize the depth of our own sin know something of what is was like for Peter and know why Peter wept bitterly, the tears of repentance.
In spite of Peter’s denial, Jesus cared for Peter. On the morning when Jesus rose from the dead, when the angels gave special instruction from Jesus to the women who came to the tomb, he told them to go and tell His disciples – and Peter – that Jesus is going into Galilee and that they would see Him there. Jesus especially wanted Peter to know that He cared about Peter. Jesus knew that Peter would be afraid that the Lord would not accept Him after his prideful boasting and most blatant denial. Imagine Peter when the women said, Peter the we were told especially to tell you that Jesus will see you in Galilee. “The Lord will still have dealings with me. Oh my Lord.” Yes, the Lord will have dealings with all of those who come to him in true repentance as Peter did. Those who lament their sin and know the Lord Jesus Christ. He is telling you today that He will have dealings with, even, you.
Because of the Lord’s great love for Peter, Peter, after the Lord Jesus’ ascension into heaven, boldly told others of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the end, rather then denying Jesus, history records that Peter was put to death because of His love for the Lord Jesus Christ. For Peter, because Jesus had paid the price for Peter’s sins, Peter’s death was a passage into eternal life.
Hate sin. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you too will be saved. Knowing this, tell others know about our great and glorious Saviour.
For direct quotes from scripture I used
The New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.