Hello and God bless you!
The lordship of Jesus Christ is our key to eternal life because of:
Romans 10:9 and 10
(9) That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
(10) For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Jesus Christ is also our key to daily living.
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
A better translation of “set apart Christ as Lord” is “Sanctify the Christ as Lord.” Sanctify means to set him apart, to give him the place of honor, day by day, so that he is in the center of everything that you do, and that you obey him as Lord.
Your relationship with Jesus Christ is the bottom line of your Christian walk.
Now, I of course don’t know you like I know me. Sometimes I wonder how even Jesus Christ can work with my weaknesses and what I might call my persistent humanity. I have not met Jesus Christ personally and I would guess that you have not either. In His Word, God has provided me, and He has provided you, with a vivid real life example of a human being who did meet Jesus. As a matter of fact, he had quite a few instances with Jesus that are recorded in Scripture. I think this man is set forth in Scripture so that we can identify with him. This man personified Proverbs 24:16.
for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.
I think we have to find something like this in the Bible because if it’s true that the bottom line of my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ, whom I have never met, then there must be an answer to that problem. Well, I believe that is a man called Peter and he is someone I can identify with. I love the records of the Apostle Paul, and he was fabulous, but I really cannot identify with him like I can with Peter.
Number one, I did not see any “light show” like Paul did. Number two, I’m not the kind of scholar in my background that Paul was. I don’t know what I would do if they were beating me five times with thirty nine lashes and so forth. Peter is a little easier for me to identify with. I believe that the records about his relationship with Jesus Christ provide you and me with true inspiration as to where we can go in our walk with the Lord Jesus. I think that too often religion tells people you have to be perfect, you have got to fit this mold, you have to conform to this behavior, and so forth, and if you don’t, well then there is just no chance for you spiritually.
I believe that what we will see in God’s wonderful Word is that Jesus Christ looks on the heart and he will look on your heart moment-by-moment. He will work with you just like he did with Peter. The same Lord who we are going to read about in his relationship with Peter is the Lord of my life and your life and he knows our weaknesses. He understands us, and what Jesus wants from you and from me is perseverance. He wants people who will just keep getting up again, and putting one foot in front of the other. Now, isn’t that how we learned to walk physically? As a little baby, you did not run out of the womb, you came out and had to lie around for awhile. Then, you started crawling around and noticed everyone else was walking. You tried that but you fell down. But, you figured if they had all learned to walk you could too and now you can even run, and jump.
This has become one of my favorite teachings and I am sorry that it is not on video tape. So you will have to provide your own video picture, and I will do my best to remind you to do this.
I want you to picture everything we read here really happening. I guarantee you that what you will see in God’s Word is going to edify you.
By the way, Peter ends up getting two books in the Bible. As we read about his life, just keep in mind the growth that ensued. Now you and I are not going to get two books of the Bible, but we can do wonderful things in service to the Lord, because he will help us just like he helped Peter.
Let’s see when they met;
(35) The next day John was there again with two of his disciples.
(36) When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
(37) When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
(38) Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”
(39) “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and spent that day with him. It was about the tenth hour [about 4 pm our time].
(40) Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.
(41) The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
(42) And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
Now, I can identify with that. Can you? It’s a rather mundane beginning for this relationship from Peter’s point of view. In other words Peter was not even the first guy that knew about Jesus. His brother knew before he did and he said, “hey, come on we found the messiah, you have to come and see this man.” Like I said, the Apostle Paul saw a light show on the road to Damascus. Well, I saw nothing like that. I have no great miracle in my life to speak of as far as seeing some great light show or something else. Nor am I a converted murderer, like the Apostle Paul, who was your basic bounty hunter looking for Christians. I am just a regular guy trying to be a decent Joe. I think Peter was like that. He was a fisherman, a good citizen, just trying to earn a living. So I can identify with the beginning of their relationship. Someone told me about Jesus, just like someone told Peter about him. When Jesus saw Peter he said:
And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
The word Peter means “a stone” or “a rock.”
Now when Peter got into his little bed that night (wherever he lived), and was pulling up his covers, I’m sure he reflected upon what we just read, and maybe before he drifted off to sleep he said:
“Man o man, I wonder if that really is the Messiah? Seemed like a pretty nice man. I wonder what he meant by I’m going to be called Cephas? I’m going to be called a rock? Oh well. Zzzzzzz (snoring)”
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God,
The record goes on to say that there were two fishing boats close by (they were not the Queen Mary). They are maybe 20 feet long and maybe 8 feet wide but the fishermen were not in them because they were washing their nets.
Jesus entered into one of the boats and it happened to be Simons (who is also called Cephas and Peter in Scripture). Jesus said, “Simon would you mind shoving off here a bit because I need to teach?” I believe Jesus was looking for the acoustics of the water to carry his voice. Peter said, “sure.” So Jesus sat down and taught the people out of the ship.
Luke 5:2 and 3
(2) he saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.
(3) He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
When he finished his teaching he said to Peter, “hey, thanks for the boat.” Jesus, knowing the biblical principle of the workman is worthy of his hire, is going to pay Peter for the use of his boat because Peter could not use it for fishing while Jesus was teaching out of it. So he said, “hey, I know what you want, you want fish. Okay, launch out into the deep over there and throw down your nets.
(4) When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
(5) Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets”
(6) When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.
(7) So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
Now picture this.
They said to the other ship, “hey, you guys get over here!”
And when they did, they filled both boats so full that they began to sink!
In verse 8, Peter fell down and said, “thank you so much for these fish!” Nope! That is what he should have said. But instead, he said, “depart from me.” And that is exactly who Peter was thinking about – himself.
Can I identify with this attitude? I think I can. Maybe you can too.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”
Peter said, “Jesus would you mind leaving because I am a sinful man and you are really making me feel uptight, so please leave.”
Why did he say that?
Luke 5:9 and 10
(9) For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,
(10) and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”
Notice all three of them are there in verse 10 but Jesus only speaks to Simon. What does Jesus say to Peter? “You’re right you are sinful!” No. Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you’re going to catch men.”
What do you think Peter thought about that night when he got into his little bed and he was pulling up his covers? He might of thought:
“Man, I’ve never seen so many fish in a net. That was unbelievable. Gee, I felt like such a jerk. I wonder what he meant, from now on you’re going to catch men?” Zzzzzzzz (snore)
We are not going to read every record in the Bible with Jesus and Peter together, but I will try and capture the key ones.
(22) Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.
(23) After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
(24) but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Now picture it.
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
That is about six in the morning so it could be starting to get light.
Jesus went out to them. How was he traveling? He was walking on the water. They are in the boat and Jesus is coming from the shore to the boat.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
They said, “Ahhhhh, it’s a ghost!” And they cried out for fear, but immediately Jesus spoke to them, please note that pronoun (them) it will not be the last time that we’ll see that, and he said, “Chill out. Be of good cheer. Hey, it is me, Jesus, don’t be afraid.”
Who answers in the next verse?
Before we read it I want to make the point that if you look up every time Jesus and Peter interact you will see time and time again that when Jesus speaks to twelve or three or a certain number gathered, it will be Peter who will answer. This man is always the one who speaks up. That’s not a bad quality, necessarily. We will notice that he is going to suffer often from a very serious farm disease called “foot in mouth.”
Can I identify with that? Yes.
Matthew 14:27 and 28
(27) But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
(28) “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.
Peter answered him and said, “Good, we were worried.” No. Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you?”
What did Jesus just say? “It is I (Jesus).” Here is Peter again saying, “If it’s really you?”
Can you picture this?
Peter is standing at the side of this boat, maybe the side came up to his waist or so, and he said, “if it’s really you?”
Remember, Jesus is within earshot. Here is where the other eleven come in. If you want to think through the kind of things they might be saying among themselves, you could write some real humor into this even more than what we are going to see in the record. Every time I teach this I can see it on the movie screen. I doubt if I’ll ever do anything about it because I don’t know who would ever produce it, but you could make the greatest movie about the life of Peter with a lot of good comedy.
So Peter said, “if it’s really you I want to walk on the water too,” and Jesus said, “come on…”
I might have said, “just kidding.”
“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
What do you think the other eleven thought when Peter is climbing over the side of the boat intending to walk away from the boat?
How often have you been in a boat and seen a person walking on a lake? Ha! It says he got out of the boat and he walked on the water to go to Jesus.
You know you don’t hear much about that. You always hear “you know Jesus walked on water.” But the Bible says two men walked on water and they are the only two I know about. At least the only two recorded in Scripture.
Now think about this and try and picture it.
What are we talking about? Walking on water. This is a miracle, and it is Peter walking on the water to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Now, why couldn’t he have noticed that from the boat?
Well, he just got out of the boat and started walking through these rough seas, and when he saw the winds were boisterous, he was afraid and began to sink. I believe that this fear displaced the faith he was exercising.
In other words he was trusting (walking on the water), and then he began to sink and so he cried out “Lord save me!” and immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter.
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
What does that tell us?
It tells us that Peter almost made it all the way to Jesus before he started to sink.
Can I identify with that? I start off with good intentions, and maybe I’m doing the right things, and I get almost there, just a few more steps and I would accomplish the goal, then I faint in my mind.
Can I identify with that? Yes, I can!
And then Jesus said to him: “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:32 and 33
(32) And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.
(33) Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Wait a minute!
How did Peter get back to the boat?
I don’t think Jesus had Peter in a fireman’s carry (over his shoulder) all the way back to the boat. When Jesus gets to the side of the boat he just dumps Peter over the side into the boat and says, “Here he is. He is all yours.”
No. I think they walked back to the boat, together. Meaning Peter walked on the water again!
What we can learn from this record is that Jesus Christ will catch you and me when we stumble and fall and he will help us get back up and walk again.
Here are a few more examples of Peter speaking up:
Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.”
Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
There are more records where Jesus speaks to a bunch of people but Peter is the one who responds and believe me we will see that again.
Here is a man who is hungry to know; a man who is not afraid to try. You see how Peter cannot be a total knucklehead or I could not identify with him because I am not a total knucklehead. Peter does a lot of things right, and one of the attributes that is so wonderful in his life, and so praise worthy, is that he is willing to try. That is all the Lord wants. That is how you learn to walk.
Here are some more verses with Peter and Jesus:
But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Peter asked, “Lord, are you telling this parable to us, or to everyone?”
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
This is a very interesting section. Look at this question:
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
Jesus asks this question because he had been running (campaigning) for king.
What I mean by that is his message as recorded in the Gospels was “I am the king that the Old Testament speaks about, I am the Messiah, vote for me.” In other words “believe on me.” The first part of the Gospels is Jesus proclaiming the kingdom. That is the first thing he said, “repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” The next part is proclaiming himself as king. Then there is a transition between that and the proclamation of the king being rejected to the proclamation of the kingdom being rejected. Now that kingdom has been held in abeyance ever since.
So after Jesus has been conducting his “campaign” for King he says, “boys, how are we doing, what do the poles show?” One of them pulled out his clipboard and said, “let’s see, forty percent think you are John the Baptist, uhh twenty six percent think your Elijah, uhhh twenty percent think you are Jeremiah, and the other fourteen percent are divided among the prophets.”
Then Jesus said, “Oh gosh, what about you, you have been hanging around with me, who do you say that I am?”
(15) But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
(16) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God
(17) Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.
In verse 17 Jesus said unto him, “Good work Simon, boy you are really cooking today. Man did not show that to you. You are really tapped in because that is God working in your heart.”
What is Jesus doing here? He is praising and encouraging Peter.
And that is exactly what he will do for you and me. How will he do it in your life? I don’t know but he will do it! I can say that because he is the same Lord who worked in Peter, as a matter of fact he is now highly exalted, and the head of the Body which you are a member of (if you’re born again).
This is fantastic stuff!
He then goes into this thing about “you are Peter, the rock, but upon this rock (meaning myself,) I’ll build my church” and so forth.
Now it comes down to verse 21, the first five words:
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
“From that time on Jesus,” would you say that this is transitional?
In other words, he had never done this before. This is beginning the section in the Gospel record where the king is going to be rejected, and look what it says:
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
This was nothing new to Jesus because he knew from the Old Testament (starting in Geneses 3:15), that the promised seed who would be born and his heel would be bruised.
Who did Jesus show verse 21 too? The disciples – all of them.
You gotta picture this!
Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him saying, “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Wow! Jesus speaks to them (the disciples) and Peter says, “uhh, Jesus, can I see you a minute?” puts his arm around him and says, “uhh, look I know the poles are disappointing but seriously it’s not that bad. I don’t think they are going to kill you, they just don’t know who you are. What is the big deal? I mean there is no way this is going to happen to you. What are you talking about? You think the campaign is going badly now, what are they going to say when you tell them this?”
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
Would you call this a stinging rebuke?
I would, especially considering the source.
I would not call it a stinging rebuke if I am walking and some stranger says, “Get behind me, Satan.” I am not going to worry about that because he has no credibility with me, but if Jesus said this to you, it might cut deeply.
Imagine Peter lying in bed that night. I do not know if he ever did get to sleep. He may have just laid there staring out into the darkness saying:
“He called me Satan….”
That is pretty deep. Now of course Jesus did not think that Peter was actually Satan. He was addressing the influence in Peter’s life. But still, this is a pretty stinging rebuke. However, Jesus does help Peter bounce back, as we will see and that is a tremendous biblical principle. If you ever have to reprove someone rather harshly, like a child, you want to sometime afterward confirm your love for that person. Not too soon, because then you will lose the whole effect of the reproof, which is godly. Just don’t take too long so the person just wallows in self pity. You do it at the right time.
Look at the next verse of the next chapter:
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
Six days after who did Jesus choose to go on a special mission? He said, “James, John, and Satan, I mean Peter.” Sorry, I don’t think that is what he said. He chose Peter. I bet Peter was feeling pretty down in the dumps but he sees that Jesus has confidence in him. It is short-lived, his feeling that is.
Watch this. They go up to a high mountain and it says he was transfigured, and his face shined like the sun, his raiment became white as the light.
Do you see anybody today that looks like this? No. What is happening here, is that Jesus goes into a Tide commercial (that is a laundry detergent that gets things very white)? He is just glistening there on the mountain.
Matthew 17:2 and 3
(2) There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.
(3) Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Let’s look at verse 9 before we lose our minds here.
Matthew 17:9 (NASB)
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision [KJV also uses vision] to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.”
It is a vision, like a spiritual hologram. Moses and Elijah were not really there because we know they are dead. God in some miraculous way gave them all a vision. What does it say at the end of verse three that Moses and Elijah were doing? They were talking with Jesus.
Now picture this. They are up on this mountain and they are talking with Jesus. How did they know it was Moses, and Elijah? I do not know. “Name tags” you say? Could be.
Who speaks up in verse 4? Peter.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Jesus is already engaged in a conversation, we call this “interrupting.” He interrupted a vision! Now did he have something that had to be said? Like, “Jesus, James just fell off the mountain over here.” No. He loses his mind. Look at the first word of verse 5:
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Peter is just rambling along with this thing in verse 4, and he is interrupted by a talking cloud. That is what it says, “a bright cloud overshadowed, behold a voice out of the cloud.” Look what the voice said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Look at the last three words, “listen to him!”
You want to talk about emotional roller coasters! Peter lived on one. How would you feel? Can’t you just hear Peter’s voice sort of tailing off when the cloud stopped talking.
(6) When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.
(7) But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”
(8) When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
(9) As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen [this vision – NASB, KJV], until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.
John 13 is the record of Jesus washing their feet after supper.
John 13:4 and 5
(4) he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.
(5) After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
This was a very common thing that they knew would happen after supper. The servant of the house would come around while they were talking, and he would take their feet and wash the dust off them and wipe them with a towel that was around his waist. Verse 5 tells us that he washed a few of his disciples’ feet before he got around to verse 6.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Nobody else said anything. Everything was going nicely until he comes to Peter. Now Peter had been watching, he had seen Jesus doing this, he said, “You’re going to wash my feet?” That is Peter.
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
That statement went in one ear and right out the other.
John 13:8 and 9
(8) “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
(9) “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
The tone of things is going to change now to be quite heavy, as far as the relationship between Jesus and Peter. We are approaching the end of Christ’s life and the ensuing events are ones, again, I can identify with but only in part, only as far as how badly Peter must have felt. I don’t know if I can make it live for you, so we will just pray that the Lord will help you see this in your own heart. Maybe you have felt like you let down the Lord, or you denied him, or you lost a spiritual dream that you once had? The life of Peter shows us that we can all bounce back again.
They are at the Last Supper (John 13:21) and Jesus was very troubled in his spirit. Look at what he is going to say to them. Keep in mind, these are his closest friends in the world, as they had been with him throughout his earthly ministry and now this is the last time that they will be together like this. It is quite a moving time.
Try to picture this.
First of all they are not all on the same side of the table. Actually, there was not even a table like we know a table. It was maybe three to six inches high and nothing like we see in the Last Supper “photo” where they all got around to the one side of the table for a picture. No. Jesus is sitting there with his disciples, probably in a little circle type thing, and he says:
(21) After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.”
(22) His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant.
(23) One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.
(24) Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”
Peter catches John’s eye, gesturing, “ask him who it is.” There again is our Peter. Then Judas leaves, and in verse 33, Jesus says:
(33) My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.
(34) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
(35) By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In verse 34, Jesus said it was a new commandment. Who speaks up in verse 36?
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Peter does not even respond to this new commandment that Jesus just said, he said, “where are you going?”
John 13:37 and 38
(37) Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
(38) Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
They are at the table at what is called the Last Supper, and Jesus does the bread and the cup thing and in Luke 22:24 they get into this huge argument about who is going to be over whom. It does not say that Peter was right in the middle of it, but I am going to venture a guess, based on what we have read so far, that he was.
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.
Satan desires to ruin everybody’s life, but the point that Jesus is making here is:
But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
It should read, “when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” I think this prayer by Jesus kept Peter from committing suicide. But in any case he said, “I prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” It is going to look like his faith does totally fail but it is never over until it is over, no matter how low we go, or how badly we think we mess up. If we will keep getting up again, not only will we be able to walk, but we will be able to help other people and we will be able to strengthen our brethren.
Luke 22:33 and 34
(33) But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
(34) Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.
In Matthew 26:30 is says, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” Just try to put yourself there. They sung a hymn, and then they are on their way out to the Mount of Olives.
(31) Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “`I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’
(32) But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”
(33) Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
Peter said, “I will never be offended!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
Then they came to the garden of Gethsemane, which is just outside of Jerusalem. Just try your best to put your heart into picturing this.
(35) But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.
(36) Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
(37) He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.
(38) Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
E. W. Bullinger’s notes say that overwhelmed with sorrow means “crushed with anguish.” I certainly hope that you have never been crushed with anguish. Jesus knew the torture of the cross that lay ahead.
How did he know? Because he read Isaiah chapters 51-53. Not only can we identify with Peter, we can identify with the man, Jesus Christ. This was the toughest moment of his life, the greatest challenge he had ever faced, and he wanted his friends with him.
You do not want to be in a situation like this and say, “will you please watch with me. What was your name?” You want people that you know, so he went a little farther away from those three and he prayed this prayer:
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Just picture this.
He came back to the disciples. It is dark out there and he found them asleep. He spoke to Peter and said, “Couldn’t you watch with me just one hour?”
How do you think Peter felt?
You know what the feeling is in the pit of your stomach when you let down someone that you love and someone you know loves you. It is just like a knife twisted in your heart. You are all knotted up inside and then Jesus says:
Matthew 26:40 and 46
(40) Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.
(41) “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
(42) He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
(43) When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.
(44) So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
(45) Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
(46) Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer.
I am just grasping for the words to communicate what must have been going on in the heart of Peter. How badly does he feel? After all, this is the second time he has fallen asleep. Soon, that sorrow gives way to confusion and then fear. First of all he is awakened and now Jesus says, “behold he is at hand who betrays me.”
A huge mob comes to the garden.
In John 18:3 it says that Judas had a band of men and officers from the chief priests and from what I have read that is from four to six hundred soldiers. That is quite a lot to get one man and not only are those people there, but you have Judas, the high priest’s servant, and whoever else would have been mixed in the crowd. They are all coming to the garden with torches and lanterns. You can just imagine this huge crowd. They are not violent but here they all come to arrest Jesus.
(3) So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
(4) Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
(5) “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the Betrayer was standing there with them.)
(6) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
(7) Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Look at verse 8, talk about presence of mind, and the love of the Lord Jesus. Do you think he is going to let go of you, especially now that he has been highly exalted as Lord? Look at the care he has for those that were with him when he is the target for this entire mob.
John 18:8 and 9
(8) “I told you that I am he,” Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
(9) This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
Jesus Christ is still thinking about other people and the Word at a time like this. That is just amazing! [This is also Jesus’ heart in his dieing words on the cross, Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani.]
How do I know that Peter meant, “I am willing to die for you”?
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Because Peter was not afraid to fight or die!
In Luke it says that Jesus healed Malchus’ ear.
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Again Jesus had to reprove Peter!
(54) Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
(55) But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
(56) A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
(57) But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
(58) A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
(59) About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
(60) Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
(61) The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
(62) And he went outside and wept bitterly.
I don’t know what to say other than Jesus was still praying for him, and it was a good chance that those prayers are what kept Peter from killing himself.
Do you think you have failed the Lord Jesus?
I don’t think that any of us can grasp how Peter must have felt, and yet we are going to see that he bounces back.
The record we just read was Monday night. From Tuesday through Saturday I do not know where Peter was or what he was doing.
In John 20:1 is one of the resurrection appearances. Mary Magdalene came to the sepulcher and she thought that the stone had been taken away. Now remember this is outside the Mount of Olives area and so she had to go all the way back to Simon Peter. She came to Simon, now she knew where he was because they were very good friends, and look what she said.
John 20:1 and 2
(1) Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.
(2) So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Look what happened, now try and picture this. They ran…
John 20:3 and 4
(3) So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
(4) Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
What was going through Peter’s heart? “I let him down before…”
John 20:5 and 6
(5) He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
(6) Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
Peter saw the linen clothes, that is the grave wrappings from the previous chapter.
John 20:7 and 8
(7) as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
(8) Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
Why did he believe? The grave wrappings were empty. This is the point of the miracle that they saw. He came in and he believed, but look at the next verse.
(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
I think this is saying he saw this right in front of his eyes and he said, “man, Jesus must be raised from the dead,” but he did not put it together from Scripture.
Then the disciples went back to their homes,
You have the record of Jesus appearing to them two times. One time Thomas was not there. Here is what I think is happening. Just think of the emotional turmoil and trauma in their lives.
“Jesus is killed, the one that we thought was the Messiah. We thought he would take over and get rid of these Romans and now he is not in the grave wrappings. He said something about that?”
I think they were just back and forth, and I think until they could put it together from Scripture they were liable to be blown about, back and forth, and I think this applies to you and me.
When we are sure that we are sure that the Word of God says so, then we have firm ground.
Watch what happens. Jesus appeared to them, and here is how he did it.
(1) Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:
(2) Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
(3) “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.”
I am not saying that this is etched in stone (meaning I am not sure if it is true) but Peter is going back to the only thing he knew. I say this because it does not say that they had been fishing lately. I think he is just returning to the only trade that he knew.
They went out and fished all night and they caught nothing! Remember from Luke 5:1-8 when Jesus first met Peter and borrowed his boat? Same thing.
(4) Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
(5) He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.
(6) He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
(7) Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
(8) The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
(9) When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
(10) Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
(11) Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
(12) Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
(13) Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.
(14) This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
I believe verse 15 is the key to this whole record!
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Remember that Jesus had said to Peter, “when you have turned again.” At this time in verse 15 Peter had not yet “turned again.” Here is Jesus giving Peter some final instructions and saying to him, “Simon do you love me? Feed my lambs.” Then he said to him a second time, “feed my sheep.” How many times did he say this? Three times. And how many times did Jesus say that Peter would deny him? Three times. He said, “do you love me?” This was the third time and Peter said, “Lord, you know I love you,” and Jesus said, “feed my sheep.” Jesus is giving Peter the opportunity to re-establish his spiritual priorities. Meaning, “I have a lot of things for you to do and I have people all over the place that need your help.”
I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said up until now you did your own thing, you walked wherever you wanted to go but in the future, you will stretch forth your hands and another will dress you and lead you, places you never thought you would go. He is talking about the comforter of which he had spoken to them in the gospel of John. Keep in mind the Day of Pentecost is right around the corner.
What is Jesus saying?
He is saying, “Peter, there is plenty to do and I am going to endue you with supernatural power to help you.”
…Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Can you picture this?
They are sitting around the fire and Jesus says to Peter after he had said this whole thing about “do you love me feed my sheep” and “there is work to do the dream is not over, follow me, that is all you have to do Peter, follow me.”
You know what, this was not the first time Jesus had said “follow me” to Peter. He said it to him on a beach one time when Peter was a fisherman, and here he is again on another beach and he is saying the same thing – “follow me.”
John 21:20 and 21
(20) Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”)
(21) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Once again he is taking his eyes off of Jesus, he turned around and saw John, and said, “Lord, what is he going to do?” That is unbelievable to me. Look at the patience of Jesus.
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
I think it took all of this, between Jesus and Peter, for Peter to finally turn again, and I think the Lord Jesus is saying the same thing to you and me. If you have ever had a spiritual dream that you think is shattered or you wondered what happened to it or you are confused, Jesus Christ is Lord, and he is still there for you.
Maybe we did not know Jesus the way Peter did, but we can get to know him. He has endued us with the same holy spirit he gave Peter on the Day of Pentecost and there are plenty of sheep to feed. He will help you find your position in the Body of Christ in a way that will bless and fulfill your life.
What do you have to do? All you have to do is “follow him.”
What does that mean in your life? I don’t know. I’m trying to figure it out in my own life.
I believe that it was at that moment (John 21:22) that Peter turned again. Now he is ready to strengthen his brethren because in Acts chapter one he stood up in the midst of the disciples and said in verse fifteen, “we have to pick a replacement for Judas.”
Who was it in Acts chapter two that stood up on the Day of Pentecost after the initial outpouring of holy spirit when everybody was freaking out?
Acts 2:14 and 15
(14) Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.
(15) These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning.”
He then goes into a tremendous sharing.
Who was it in Acts chapter three who went up with John to the temple gate beautiful and saw the lame man begging?
(1) One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.
(2) Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
(3) When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.
(4) Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”
(5) So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.
(6) Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”
(7) Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
It is Peter who is spearheading the outreach of the early church in the first half of the book of Acts.
Who was it in Acts chapter four that stood before the rulers and the counselors, those who had killed Jesus? Peter does not deny Jesus, he is filled with holy spirit and in verse eight Peter says:
(8) Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit [holy spirit, the gift], said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
(9) If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed,
(10) then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
(11) He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’
(12) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
(13) When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
What does it say? “These men had been with Jesus.”
We have just seen the relationship between Peter and Jesus. Peter had been with Jesus and the same Lord will work with you just like he worked with Peter.
Who is it in Acts chapter nine that raised a woman named Dorcas from the dead?
Who is it in Acts chapter ten that is up on his roof about lunch time and sees a “floating Zoo” on a sheet, and he hears “rise Peter kill and eat,” and Peter said, “I’m not killing, I’m never eating anything like that.” But the Lord works with him and he goes to the house of Cornelius (a Gentile) and the Gentiles speak in tongues.
Acts 10:34 and 35
(34) Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism
(35) but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.
How true that is! There is no mold you must fit. There is no pedigree you must have. All you have to have is a willing heart, and Jesus will work with that.
Who is in Acts chapter twelve that is sleeping in a jail chained between two soldiers and an angel shows up and lets him out and then vanished right in front of him? Peter says, “I think that was an angel.”
Peter is in Acts chapter fifteen at the Jerusalem counsel where the dispute was about whether or not circumcision was necessary for Christians.
(7) After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.
(8) God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit [the gift of holy spirit] to them, just as he did to us.
(9) He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.
(10) Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear?
(11) No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.”
Those are the last recorded words of Peter in the book of Acts, and how fabulous they are because he had learned that God is no respecter of persons. And yet later on the Apostle Paul by revelation has to reprove Peter in front of the entire church at Antioch, which was a large group. Peter was still susceptible to the creeping legalism emanating from Jerusalem. Can I identify with that? That is one of the hallmarks of the old nature to think that it is by my works, by my effort, that I will stand in good stead with God. Peter was drawn into this error. Look what it says, and I can identify with this, yet he bounces back.
Galatians 2:11 and 12
(11) When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.
(12) Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.
He cared what they thought.
Galatians 2:13 and 14
(13) The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.
(14) When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?
The only way you will ever know if someone is walking uprightly or not is by the written Word. The written Word is our standard for truth.
Paul said this to Peter in front of everyone. What could Peter have said? He could have said:
“who do you think you are Paul? You were a bounty hunter. I was in this long before you. I was preaching, getting people saved before you ever knew you were a murder. Who do you think you are to talk to me like this in front of all these people?”
One of the hallmarks in Scripture is chapter five of 1 Peter. Something he is going to write about in one of the two books he got in the Bible. First of all, what does that show us? It shows us that he bounced back from this stinging reproof in front of the entire church at Antioch, and he is going to write about meekness. Meekness means “coachability, teach-ability,” it does not mean being a wimp, and it does not mean never making a mistake.
It means pulling your foot out of your mouth and putting it on the ground, one more time. So Peter writes in closing the book of 1 Peter, and he got this revelation from the same Lord who worked with him and trained him.
1 Peter 5:1 and 2
(1) To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:
(2) Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
“Be shepherds of God’s flock” means “feed the flock.” What did Jesus say to him? He said, “feed my sheep,” and now Peter wants to pass it on, so to speak.
Did you ever have a dream about serving the Lord Jesus and being a leader? There is nothing wrong with being a leader. It simply means to “go somewhere and have somebody else follow you.”
You can still do it. Peter said:
1 Peter 5:2 and 3
(2) Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;
(3) not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
Peter was a down to earth man who understood the hearts of others.
1 Peter 5:4-10
(4) And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
(5) Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
(6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
(7) Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(8) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
(9) Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
(10) And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Peter understood that you could grow and learn with the Lord.
How far do you want to go with the Lord Jesus?
He will never leave you where his grace cannot keep you and it is his strength in us that overcomes our weaknesses!
So let’s exemplify Peter’s enthusiasm and faithfulness to keep getting up!