(A Harmony of the Gospels is a good tool for following the events in the life of Christ in chronological order from all the gospel accounts.)
· As I have been reading through the gospel accounts of Christ's last days with His disciples and His crucifixion, I have been struck by the people who were involved and how God used each one to add to His story.
· Probably no one in the events of Christ's last days is more colorful and captivating that the Apostle Peter.
· His deep love for the Savior and rash zeal to follow him are both endearing and inspiring.
· Peter is often maligned for his ambitious words, his blunders, and failures, but at the heart of them is a man who loved Christ passionately and aspired to do great things for him.
· To often we judge people too much on how many mistakes they make and not enough on their heart and their acts of faith for the Lord.
· Peter had a passion for the Lord that was not informed or powered by the Spirit.
· We should strive for his passion and love for Christ and direct it with a knowledge of the Word and empowerment of the Spirit.
· Tonight we will highlight six mentions of Peter leading up to Christ's sacrifice for our sins.
1. Christ washing feet (145) John 13.1-20
& John 13 1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6 Then He came to Simon Peter.
And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?” 7 Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” 8 Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Peter's heart was that he would esteem Christ as his Lord and would be the servant. He was poorly informed and did not understand what Christ was doing.
We should be students of the Word to know God's design and purposes. But do we have that same passion?
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”
9 Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”
There was nothing half way with Peter. He was not content to follow Christ some. He wanted everything Christ had to offer him.
We should be students of the Word to know God's design and purposes. But do we want Christ to have all of us?
10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” 12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
· During the Paschal meal Christ predicts his betrayal.
· All the disciples were concerned that they might be the betrayer.
· Christ pointed points out Judas as the betrayer and he left.
· & The account continues in Mark 14.
2. Christ's prediction (147) Mark 14.27-31 / Luke 22.31-32
In Luke 22.31-32
31 … the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
In that context we come to Mark 14.27-31
27 Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘ I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.’28 “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” 30 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” 31 But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.
Peter seems to be in the lead here, or his words may be highlighted to give context to his coming denial. The Lord's statement that Satan was coming to "sift him as wheat" must have heightened his concern. However, all the disciples loyally affirmed the same thing in spite of the OT prophecies.
We should be students of the Word to know God's design and purposes and rely on the Spirit's filling. But do we share the same determination as Peter?
· (148) Christ institutes the Lord's Supper during the celebration of the Passover Seder.
· (149) Jesus gives the upper room discourse recorded in John.
· and continue to share (150) as they move toward Gethsemane.
· John 17 records Christ's intoercessory prayer.
· & Then Matthew 26.36-40 records the Lord's prayer in Gethsemane.
3. The Lord's last prayer (152) Matt 26.36-40
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.
This is characteristic of Peter. He was one of the closest to the Lord. To often our goal is just to keep from straying too far. We should aspire and seek to be in Christ's inner circle.
38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” 39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 40 Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? 41
If we aspire to stand for Christ, we must learn to watch and pray. That is our defense against entering into a temptation.
Do we strive and aspire to be close to Christ? Have we learned to watch and pray?
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to His disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”
& (153) Next is betrayal of Christ by Judas and Jesus' arrest. In the midst of that account we see another example of Peter's zeal for the Lord. Look down to verse 50.
4. Peter defends Christ (153) Matt 26.50-56
50 But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. 51 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus [Peter] stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
Just as he promised, Peter does indeed take his stand for Christ. He is brave against overwhelming odds and should receive credit. However, his zeal is misinformed and did not further God's plan.
We should be students of the Word to know God's design and purposes. But do we share the same boldness and courage to stand for Christ as Peter did?
55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
(154) Jesus is examined by Annas, father of the high priest.
(155) Jesus is tried and condemned by Caiphas, the high priest
& As we turn to John 18, we find Peter as followed Christ from a distance.
5. Peter followed Christ (156) John 18.15-16
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. 16 But 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.
After Peter flees in the garden, we find him back following Christ. After the incident with the high priest's servant, this was a pretty bold move. The Bible is silent about the other nine disciples, but it is reasonable to assume that they were on the run or in hiding. John had connections and could get in and had Peter let in. Peter was the only one brave enough to be in the position to deny Christ. You don't fail when you don't try.
But do we share the same tenacity to persist in following Christ ?
6. Peter wept bitterly (156) Luke 22.59-62
It is easy for us to forget what a sticky situation Peter was in here. Three times people pointed him out and questioned whether he was with Jesus. It is easy for preachers to belittle Peter for "being afraid of a servant woman," the reality is that he was in real danger. He moved away from the fire to the gate where two times more he was pointed out.
59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Peter had determined with all his might to stand up for Jesus and was devestated and crushed when he failed so miserably. "wept bitterly" The Greek word for bitterly* here carries the idea of "being pierce through." It is a word you would use for someone mourning for the dead.
This response demonstrates the deep love for the Lord and strong desire to stand for Him that we should all aspire to.
To often we have a "Well, whatever" attitude about sin. Do we share the same heartbreak over our sin and failure to honor the Lord that Peter had?
*πικρῶς pikrōs St#G4090
We should be students of the Word to know God's design and purposes and rely on the Holy Spirit's filling
to avoid Peter's mistakes, but ...
· Do we have that same passion?
· Do we share the same determination?
· Do we strive and aspire to be close to Christ?
· Do we share the same boldness and courage to stand for Christ?
· Do we share the same tenacity to persist in following Christ ?
· Do we share the same heartbreak over our sin and failure to honor the Lord?
The next day, as Jesus was dieing, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing his head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19.30)·
Not only was the price for Peter's sin and his shortcomings paid in full, but ours also.