Peter. Oh, Peter. Impetuous and spontaneous. The “speak before you think, jump out of the boat, walk on water” apostle. A man very passionate, whose passions ruled him. Fearful of what others thought of him and governed largely by his emotions, we find in Peter a rough and tumble sort of man with a very big heart. One minute he says, “No, Lord! I will never betray you!” And the next minute we see him betraying his Lord—not once, not twice, but three times. We love Peter, don’t we? I believe our love of Peter may be in part because we see ourselves most in him.
- Have you ever found yourself so passionate for your Savior that you couldn’t imagine life without him, and then, soon after, ashamed to stand up for his very name?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 18:12-27 (ESV)
12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 15-18 and 25-27. Verses 12-14 and 19-24 were covered previously.)
- What can you surmise about this situation by the question asked by the servant girl and the way she asked it (vs. 17)?
- What can you infer about the heart of Peter by his answer?
- Do you think Peter went into this situation wanting to deny Jesus? How might his fear of what others thought of him have caused him to stumble into sin?
- When do you think Peter realized the gravity of what he had done? And why?
- Whom do you fear? Does that fear cause you to make selfish choices, or selfless ones?
RESPOND TO GOD
John contrasted Jesus with Peter by alternating between the story of Jesus standing up to his questioners and denying nothing inside of the palace, while Peter cowered before his questioners and denied everything outside of the palace. Peter’s fear of others is what pushed him to make the choices he did in the pressure of the moment. Maybe this is why God commands us to fear him and him only, knowing that fear of the Almighty will help us make the best choice possible. And when we fail to do so, it is when the rooster crows that we are reminded of our utter depravity and our complete need to be totally dependent on our Lord. Oh, what grace!
- Thank God that despite your weaknesses—the times you fail him and deny him—he loves you and calls you his own.