FAILURE TO BOLDLY IDENTIFY WITH CHRIST DOES NOT HAVE TO DEFINE US IF WE RESPOND TO GOD’S MERCY AND REPENT
God is not only the God of second chances – but of third and fourth chances! We see here in the story of Peter’s denials of the Lord that God continues to give opportunities to serve Him as we repent and respond to His mercy and grace. Judas betrayed Christ in the ultimate sense and from a wicked, unrepentant heart. Peter’s denials were different. They were the failings of a genuine believer who through lack of prayer and faith was unprepared at a point in time to combat the temptations of Satan. Peter’s story of restoration to such a prominent leadership role in the church should give us hope that Jesus wants to restore us when we fall as well.
I. (:54-55) CLOSE WITHOUT CONFESSING CHRIST –
SOCIAL DISTANCING – PETER FOLLOWS – BUT NOT TOO CLOSELY
A. (:54) Plot Developed via 2 Tracks
1. Trial of Jesus
“And having arrested Him, they led Him away,
and brought Him to the house of the high priest;”
2. Tale of Peter
“but Peter was following at a distance.”
B. (:55) Peter = the Initial Focus
“And after they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.”
Many Christians think that they can hang out close to Jesus but keep their lips sealed and not confess him before men when under pressure.
II. (:56-60a) DENYING BY LYING –
ANOTHER TYPE OF BETRAYAL
A. (:56-57)First Denial
1. (:56) Identification by Servant-Girl
“And a certain servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight,
and looking intently at him, said, ‘This man was with Him too.’”
2. (:57) Denial by Peter
“But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’”
B. (:58) Second Denial
1. (:58a) Identification by a Male Servant
“And a little later, another saw him and said, ‘You are one of them too!’”
Darrell Bock: basically agrees with MacArthur writing that “Luke notes that “another” (heteros) man raises the issue of Peter’s association to Jesus, in contrast to Mark 14:69, where the same servant girl raises the issue a second time. Mt. 26:71 also says it is “another” (but allē is feminine), while John 18:25 says that “they” raised the issue….It seems that on this second effort the girl persisted and others joined her.”…The public pressure is heating up, and Peter is wilting; he is trying to stick close to Jesus while remaining incognito.
2. (:58b) Denial by Peter
“But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’”
C. (:59-60a) Third Denial
1. (:59) Identification by Cousin of Malchus
“And after about an hour had passed, another man began to insist,
saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.’”
Bruce Hurt: As noted above it is about 3 AM. Why 3 AM? Because in the next verse Peter gave his third denial and the rooster crowed. In Jewish reckoning of time, “cock crow” was the third watch of the night, ending at 3 AM which was when roosters typically began to crow.
2. (:60a) Denial by Peter
“But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’”
Donald Miller: The futility of his denials, however, lay in the fact that his Galilean dialect betrayed him (vs. 59). Peter had failed to heed Jesus’ warning (vss. 31-34), or to take his advice about praying for strength to overcome temptation (vss. 40, 46). Self-reliance leads always to moral failure.
II. (60b-62) CROWING LEADS TO WEEPING —
A. (:60b) The Cock Crows – The Cock Doesn’t Lie
“And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed.”
B. (:61) The Lord Looks – The Look Doesn’t Condemn
“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, ‘Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.’”
Lenski: It is debated as to how Jesus could be close enough to look upon Peter at this moment. The best answer is that the Temple police were just then leading him from the hall of trial through the open courtyard to some place of detention until he should be wanted again. With his face contused, black and blue form the blows he had received, with spittle still defiling his countenance, Jesus looked upon poor Peter.
C. (:62) Peter Weeps – The Tears Lead to Repentance
“And he went out and wept bitterly.”