Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lesson from the Life of Peter (Part Two)

III. Peter’s Failure (Luke 22:54-62) This passages is often used to encourage us not to follow the Lord at a distance. But when we examine the Gospels we learn that they really weren’t suppose to be following at all (Mt. 26:31, Mk. 14:27, Jn. 18:8). Most of the disciples scattered, but Peter followed right to the high priest’s courtyard, where he denied his Lord three times. Peter was not the blessed man described in Psalm 1, because he walked in the counsel of the ungodly (Jn. 18:18). Then he sat with the scornful by the fire (Lk. 22:61). When we combine all the gospel accounts together what do we find?

Mark tells us that the rooster crowed twice (Mk. 14:72), so Peter ignore the first warning crow of the rooster. After Peter had denied the Lord the third time, the rooster crowed again. At that moment, Lk. 22:61 says that the Lord turned and looked at Peter. This is the same word that is used back in Jn. 1:42. It was a tender, penetrating look that went right to Peter’s conscience and heart! There are at least three lessons for us in the crowing of the rooster and Peter’s failure:

1. Reassurance: That Jesus is Lord! No matter how discouraging things are around us, or even how bad we hurt on the inside, our Savior is still Lord of all! Think of it, He kept every other rooster from crowing that night, and He commanded one rooster to crow on cue! This would have reminded Peter of the tax money in the fish’s mouth, or the fish that broke his nets. We some times sing, “Be still my soul; the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them while He dwelt here below. This should provide us with great reassurance as it might have for Peter.

2. Repentance: You can be Forgiven! The Lord Jesus had told Peter that, “Simon, Simon, Satan desires to sift them as wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Lk. 22:31-32). Notice three times his old name is mentioned there. As if to warn him that the old Simon, the old man will try to take over from time to time. Peter needed to be on guard. Early that same night he had resisted the word of the Lord and here he is seen remembering the Word of the Lord. Resisting His Word in our lives will drive us farther and farther away, but remembering His word and obeying it will lead to repentance!

3. Renaissance: It’s the Beginning of a Fresh Start for Peter! When a rooster crows every morning, it says that a new day is dawning and that a fresh start is beginning. That is the message to Peter. No matter how bad yesterday was today can be a clean slate, if there is repentance! We know that Peter did repent and was forgiven. The Lord met him privately on the first day of the week and restored him privately. Then latter He restored Peter publicly in John21.

IV. Peter’s Future
Let’s turn to John 21. Peter is mentioned at least 13 times in this chapter, so the focus is definitely on him and his Lord. Peter meeting the Lord here would help Peter with His past and prepare him for his future. There are at least 5 lessons we can learn here:

1. He Remember His Call to Discipleship (Jn. 21:1-11). Peter found himself watching a repeat of when the Lord called him to be a disciple. This stirred up Peter’s memory and it is interesting that in 2 Peter 1:12-15 he says that he wrote them in order to stir up their memories. The Lord uses our past and present to prepare us for the future. He also will not let us forget the commitments we have made to Him.

2. Peter remember His Confession of Christ (Jn. 21:9, 12-14). Seeing the bread and fish might have caused him to remember the feeding of the 5000 in John 6. There the 5 barley loaves of bread an two small fish served as a great object lesson for message the Lord would give as to Himself being the Bread of Life! When many left the Lord because what He was saying was to hard for them to digest, He ask the disciple if they too wanted to leave. Peter confessed, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the wards of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter had already made a similar confession in Mt. 16:16.

3. Peter Remembered His Denial of Christ (Jn. 21:9). Peter had denied the Lord by the world’s fire (Jn.18:18). Peter was cold and fire is a source of heat. It also seemed to be a place of safety at the moment. But Peter found the world’s fire to be a place of cold distance from the Lord with no safety at all. But the Lord brings him back to the place of departure where full restoration can be enjoyed.

4. Peter Remembered His Boast of Love (Jn.21:15-17). Peter had said that even if every one else left, even if he had to die, he would not disown the Lord (Mt. 26:33,35). Here the Lord challenges Peter’s love for Him. Peter had denied Him 3 times and 3 time the Lord says, “Do you love me?” There are two very important things that flow out of this. First, the most important requirement for any service for God is a deep love for Him! Secondly, a love for His people. If we don’t have a real genuine love for Him and for the ones we serve our service will not be affective! Peter picks up on this love in his letters calling his reading beloved brethren, speaking much about the brotherhood and shepherding the sheep.

5. Peter Remembered His Opposition to the Cross (Jn. 21:18-19). Back in Mt. 16:21-28, right after Peter’s confession, “You are the Son of the living God,” Peter opposed the idea of the Lord going to the cross. Satan had tried to get the Lord to take a short cut back in Mt. 4. Now he is working through Peter. Peter had to learn that before glory comes suffering. Peter learn that lesson and much of the theme of 1 Peter is about suffering. Also the Lord referred to Peter’s death in Jn. 21 and Peter refers to it again in 2 Peter 1:12-15.

All of these things would remind Peter and us that the memories of past events and even past failures don’t have to be anchors that hold us back, but they can act as rudders to guide us in the future.

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