- Sermon Notes
We’re Related to Peter - 1
As we are studying the life of Jesus through the book of Matthew, we come to the night in which He was arrested. We are now entering into one of the most important portions of not only the book of Matthew, but of the Bible itself; because these events have everything to do with us.
What is happening in the life of Jesus has everything to do with our life, our eternal life. Therefore, we need to look carefully and understand deeply what is here before us.
Last week Jesus was with the disciples at their last supper together, it was the Jewish Passover meal that they shared. It was at that meal that Jesus explained the meaning of that feast, and in fact every Jewish feast points to Jesus and gives a greater depth of understanding in all that He has done for us.
Jesus talked about the bread they shared as a symbol of His body, the bread was without leaven and He was without sin. There is great symbolism there, but Jesus went on to say, "Take, eat; this is My body, given for you." Jesus then took the cup and said, "This is the cup of the New Covenant, initiated in my blood, poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. Take and drink and remember My death until I come again."
It was also at that supper that Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. In turn they each asked, "It isn't me, is it?" Finally, Judas Iscariot, the one who had already arranged to betray Him for 30 pieces of silver, said, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" Jesus responded, "You have said it yourself." Shortly after Judas left and the betrayal would soon follow.
We know that Jesus spent much time with the disciples there at that supper. From John's Gospel we hear the same words they heard when Jesus gave them some of the greatest spiritual insights we have.
Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. From Jerusalem, they headed east. At first, they would descend into a small valley, the Kidron Valley, continuing on they would cross the small creek and immediately come to an area where there were many olive trees. This place is called Gethsemane, which means, "oil press." Here they would stay for several hours.
Here, Jesus begins to warn the disciples in advance what will happen to them, that they would all fall away that very night because of Him and that this would fulfill the Scriptures, "I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered." Zechariah 13:7
And this is where Peter steps into the story. We can learn so much from watching the disciples, but we can especially learn from Peter, because we can relate to him.
Peter is the one who seems to always be saying the wrong thing at the wrong time; we tease him that he is the one with the foot shaped mouth. He was the one who even tried to correct the Lord when Jesus told them that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things and be killed and be raised up on the third day. Peter got a sharp correction himself that day.
If we look at Peter that night, we gain a deep understanding of our own condition. And then when you see how Jesus responds, we are yet once again amazed at how God's ministers life in the midst of our weakness.
I. Don’t Think Too Highly of Yourself
- Jesus tells them that they would all fall away that night because of Him, and then He encourages them by saying that He would go before them to Galilee after He had been raised.
- But Peter stepped up again to correct Him as if to say, "You don't have it quite right, Lord, it's true that the rest of these may fall away, but not me, I will never fall away."
- Personally, I think Peter is trying to make a declaration about how much he loves the Lord. Though there has to be some pride in what he said because he was making himself look better, stronger; more loyal than the others.
A. Let’s be real; we need God’s strength
- Overestimating ourselves can be actually very dangerous because when we overly rely on ourselves, it therefore suggests that we don’t rely enough on God.
- From the gospel of John we know that Jesus also said to them that night…
John 16:7, "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."
- This is one of the powerful points we recently learned as we saw the wisdom and spiritual strength that comes from receiving God's Word and sitting at His feet.
- The life that is effective and accomplishes much is not the one who works the hardest or sweats the most, or relies upon his own strength. The scripture says that it is the effective prayer of a righteous man that accomplishes much.
Isaiah 40:29, 31 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increase his power… Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength, they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become faint.
- There are some great scriptures that we need to see that God wants us to understand here.
Romans 12:3, For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Romans 3:10, as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one;"
- Sometimes people overestimate themselves with the best of intentions. Sometimes people that are trying to rebuild their lives after a terrible, sinful fall, might say, "Lord, I will never do this again."
- They have the best of intentions because of their brokenness, but they are over relying on themselves and need instead to say, "Lord, I wait on You; please be the strength of my life."
- Jesus then pointed out to Peter that his fall would be greater than them all. “This very night, before a cock grows, you shall deny Me three times."
Proverbs 16:18, Pride goes before destruction; and a haughty spirit before a fall.
B. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
- Jesus then came to Gethsemane where He told His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter, James and John and began to be grieved and distressed.
- He even said that His soul was grieved, even to the point of death, and asked them to keep watch with Him. He meant, watch and pray.
- We are then allowed into the intimacy of Jesus’ relationship to His Father as He prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but Your will be done."
- When Jesus comes back from this prayer, He finds Peter, James and John asleep. I think we can all understand the power that sleep has on us.
Illus - When I was in seminary, I would sometimes listen to Chuck Smith teaching through the Bible. I admit that there were times I napped, but those were some of the most spiritual naps I ever had.
- After admonishing them Jesus said, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
- That's wisdom. That's the truth; and that is something we absolutely must understand about ourselves. We may have the best of intentions and the greatest desires, but our problem is that the flesh is weak.
- In this place we see the fact that Jesus came in the flesh with its weakness and frailty, but we also see that He overcame His flesh by the power of the Spirit.
Romans 8:1-7 Walk according to the Spirit
- One of the other lessons we learn from these verses is the power of prayer and the significance of prayer in Jesus’ relationship to His Father.
- Jesus prayed, "My Father…" There is something intimate about that prayer and in that relationship we are given an example.
- Prayer keeps us close to God, the very place we need to be.
Psalm 73:28, But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge…
Hebrews 7:25, Therefore He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
C. Consider the Father's perspective
- The prayer of Jesus here gives us an insight into what Jesus was going through as He knowingly faced what He must endure as payment for our sins.
- But consider for a moment the Father's perspective as He heard this prayer and saw the anguish of His Son, even sweating blood as He prayed.
- A father's heart is such that he would want to spare his son, but you see the Father's heart beautifully and powerfully in this story.
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life."
- In the Gospel of Luke we read that an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Again we see the Father's heart.
Illus – When our daughter, Nicole, nine years old at the time, went through a mysterious illness I understood what it means to have a father’s heart.
II. Our Battle is Not Against Flesh and Blood
- After the last time Jesus found them sleeping, He said, "Behold, the hour is at hand…"
- While He was still speaking, Judas came up and gave Him a kiss, the agreed upon signal so the multitude would know who to seize.
- What I find amazing is that Jesus then responded to him, "Friend…"
A. Live by the sword, die by the sword
- We know from another gospel that it was Peter who then drew out his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. We know his name to be Malchus.
- Jesus’ correction of Peter is filled with insight for all of us. First of all, Peter could have gotten himself into serious trouble here.
- I think it's a fair assumption that Peter, being a fisherman, and not skilled with a sword was not going for the man's ear. I submit that he was trying to take the man's head off.
- Therefore, when Jesus reached out and healed Malchus, he was saving Peter from himself.
- But He continued in power, "Those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." There was something being done of far greater consequence and Peter didn't understand it, not yet.
- When we react in the flesh in times of crisis, we completely miss what God is trying to do through it all.
- Your husband, wife, children, boss, neighbor, are not your enemy; in fact, when we react in the flesh we are giving the enemy a foothold in our lives.
Ephesians 4:26 -27, Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.
B. The weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh
- The point we need to gain for our lives is that we are in a spiritual battle and the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh.
2 Corinthians 10:3, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.
Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Matthew 26:30-58 NASB
30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.' 32 But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee." 33 But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away." 34 Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." 35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You." All the disciples said the same thing too.
51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52 Then Jesus
said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal
to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that
it must happen this way?"