- Sermon Notes
We’re Related to Peter -2
Continuing now in the book of Matthew, we come to the Garden of Gethsemane on the night in which Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested in the middle of the night by the Jewish leaders.
Earlier that same evening Jesus had the first communion with the disciples as they shared the Passover meal together. It was there Jesus explained that He was the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover feast. He took the bread saying, "Take, eat; this is My body, given for you.” He then took the cup saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."
The bread and the cup picture for us the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; He is the holy Lamb of God sacrificed in payment for our sins so that we might have our sins completely forgiven and that we should receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ as a gift.
The giving of Jesus's body and blood will be immediately fulfilled as we will see. From that last supper together, they left Jerusalem heading east. First they descended into the Kidron Valley, crossed the small brook there and came to the Garden of Gethsemane on the other side. It was there that Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven so intently that He sweated blood. All this was in preparation for the suffering that Jesus would endure; the drinking of the cup of the wrath of God; the cup that we ourselves deserved to drink, but Jesus drank in our place.
As we follow along the story of what happened to Jesus that night, there is another story that unfolds as well. It's the story of Peter. Peter's role in this story is important for us because we can relate to Peter; we can see ourselves in him.
Here is Peter, the one disciple who seems to always put his foot in his mouth, the one with the audacity to actually confront Jesus when in fact he was the one who needed to be confronted. But at the very same time that we follow along with Peter and see the failure of man, we see the story of Jesus; taking our sin upon Himself, paying the penalty that we deserved, and drawing us into the hope of eternal life.
Earlier that same evening, Jesus had warned them all that they would all fall away that very night, but then encouraged them that He would go before them to Galilee. In other words, Jesus was giving them the hope of being restored even while He warned them of their failure.
But that's where Peter got stuck. When he heard Jesus say they would all fall away, Peter disagreed. The problem was that he overestimated himself, he was overly relying upon himself and that's where he got into trouble, and that's where we can get into trouble in our lives as well. That's one of the lessons we learned last week, when we overestimate ourselves, when we overly rely on ourselves, we are not trusting or relying on God to be the strength and power of our lives.
This was one of the first lessons the Lord wanted Peter to understand. If you go back to when Jesus first called Peter, an amazing story unfolds that we need to understand as well because this is the background that leads us to what happens to Peter in Matthew 26. Luke 5:1-11
The problem is that we are related to Peter and the things we see unfolding in his life become lessons for us in our lives as well. This is what makes us appreciate all that God has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ when He died on the cross for our sins.
I. When Our Love Fails; His Does Not
- After Jesus had told them that they will all fall away, and after He prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, a great multitude came with swords and clubs from the leaders of Israel.
- Immediately they laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. Peter then pulled out a sword in a rush of anger and tried to take off the head of the servant of the high priest, but cut off his ear instead.
- Jesus corrected Peter, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who live by the sword shall also die by the sword." He then rescued Peter by healing the servant’s ear.
- Those who had seized Jesus led him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, and Jesus will now endure the mockery of this false trial.
- While Jesus is in the hands of the unrighteous, we also see Peter in the background.
- We relate to Peter even as we see his love fail, but once again we see that God's love never fails.
A. Don't follow at a distance
- In verse 58, we see Peter following Him at a distance, he's following Jesus, but he doesn't want anyone to know who he is.
- Clearly he's a follower of Jesus, but is following Him at a distance. Frankly, again we’re related to Peter, many people find themselves in the same place.
- They’re followers of Jesus, but they don't want to stand out, they don't want anyone to know.
- But this is actually a miserable place for a believer to be. Following Jesus at a distance is miserable because you have too much of the Lord to enjoy the world and too much of the world to enjoy the Lord.
- Being too far from the Lord is what gets us into trouble. It's been that way from the very beginning.
Psalm 73:28, But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.
Romans 1:16, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…
2 Timothy 1:12, I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day.
- I have found that it's actually much easier to declare who you are. When I was in the workaday world and got a new job, I wanted it known early on that I was a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Illus - When I worked as a waiter in Bible college and when the church was first started, some amazing things happened when they found out I was a Christian.
- Then as we returned to what's happening with Jesus, we see His love never fails even as He is falsely accused.
Illus - a similar scene is unfolding in Iran as Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for his Christian faith yet refuses to recant saying, "I am resolute in my faith and Christianity and have no wish to recant.”
B. Don’t be warmed by the world’s fire
- While Jesus is on trial in front of Caiaphas the high priest, Peter was outside in the courtyard and it tells us in all the other Gospels that Peter was warming himself by their fire.
- In fact, in the books of Mark and Luke we read that Peter made himself so comfortable that he was sitting with the officers and servants around the fire.
Luke 22:55, After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them.
- While he is making himself comfortable around their fire, he is accused of being a follower of Jesus, the Galilean.
- But he's in their midst, at their party, warming himself at their fire and so he becomes like them. Immediately, Peter denies that he even knows the Lord; three times Peter denies Him. In fact, the third time, he even does so with cussing.
- Peter had overestimated himself and declared that even if all may fall away, he would never fall away. It was as if Peter was saying, "I love you more than these."
- But Peter's love fails here; and we can relate to Peter because we know what it means to fail also.
Illus - When you warm yourself by the world's fire, the pressure will be there for you to be like them. But the world’s fire cannot satisfy the soul.
C. There is a sorrow that's good
- After Peter had denied Jesus the third time, immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed and the Lord turned and looked at Peter.
- I am convinced that Jesus looked at Peter with eyes of compassion, but also sorrow.
- Peter immediately went out and wept bitterly. But there is a sorrow that's good; there is a sorrow that leads to repentance.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10, For you were made sorrowful according to the will of God… For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Illus – I remember when I was 21 years old and making terribly worldly decisions, I started looking in the mirror with eyes that were opened and I did not like what I saw, but it caused me to turn my life around.
Psalm 30:5,11 Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning… You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.
II. God Pursues You with His Love
- The story of Peter here wouldn't be complete unless we see how God restores, how God pursues Peter with His love.
- In order to do that, we need to go to John 21. Remember that Jesus had told his disciples to go to Galilee and He would meet them there.
- It's there in Galilee, familiar surroundings for the disciples, that Jesus pursues Peter in His love and restores him to God's purpose in his life.
A. God doesn’t hold failure against you
- I'm so glad to know that God is not like us. We hold grudges; we let our pride get in the way.
- Peter decided that he was going fishing. Maybe he was going back to his old way of life, maybe he didn't know what to do, so he just went back to that which was comfortable.
- They fished all night and caught nothing, but in the morning Jesus Himself was there on the beach and everything that happened was part of God's restoring him with His purpose.
- Jesus told them to cast the net on the other side of the boat. Here again Jesus was reminding them of the significance of His presence in our lives.
- There was a charcoal fire with fish and bread prepared for them. That fire would have been significant to Peter. But wouldn't the fish and bread also have reminded them of something?
B. God’s love gives purpose in your life
- After breakfast, Jesus took Simon Peter aside and the conversation that follows is remarkable.
- To understand this conversation, we need to know that in the Greek language there are several words which we translate into our word "love."
- There is the Greek word agape, which is a steadfast committed love that comes from the heart.
- There is the Greek word phileo, often translated, brotherly love, which is an affection or fondness that you have towards someone. But the scripture, "There is a friend who is closer than a brother," is more accurate.
- But throughout this conversation Jesus keeps calling Peter to "tend My lambs," and "shepherd My sheep." Jesus is giving Peter significance and purpose in his life by entrusting those whom God loves into his care.
- It is great restoration when God sends you out with His purpose on your life and asks you to go about His business of tending after and caring for those whom He loves.
Ezekiel 34:15-16, “I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest,” declares the Lord God. “I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick;”
Matthew 26:57-75 NASB