Who would have every thought that the world would be in the condition that we find it in today? The spiritual landscape of America has greatly changed over the last many years. The tide of Biblical separation has subtly changed into a “verbal stand” for Christ, and our “positional stands” are slowly fading under the guise of “rediscoveries of the early church of Acts.”
Many times we find ourselves like Peter: emphatically proclaiming that we would die for Christ, but shortly thereafter doing the complete opposite with our actions, associations, and foolish assumptions (Peter thought his denial was the end and then he ran).
What would cause Peter to deny the One for which he had a genuine love? The love Peter had for the Lord is not in question. How he got to the point of denying Jesus – that is the question!
The accounts of Jesus prophesying the denial can be found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 13. I would like to look at Peter’s fulfillment of that prophecy as found in John 18:16-27.
Why would he do this, and was he any different that we are today? Could it be that we, too, deny Christ as Peter did, and maybe even more frequently than we think? It is a given that he denied Christ as a fulfillment to the prophecies that are given in Scripture, but there are three very practical reasons that are found in this passage too.
I. TO GET WHERE HE WANTED TO GO
“But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.” – John 18:16,17
Peter wanted to get inside! In verse 15 of the same portion of Scripture we find that there was another disciple who followed Jesus. Through study we find this other disciple to be John. John, because of his father, was known by the High Priest and was allowed inside. As Peter, who was following the Lord with John went to go inside; the young lady who kept the door stopped him. She looked at him and asked, “Art thou one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I AM NOT.”
One might think, “surely his denial was justified!” He was just trying to get close to Christ! Denying Christ is NEVER justified. Far too often we as Christians deny our Saviour in order TO GET WHERE WANT TO GO! Maybe it is to get that job promotion – so we work extra on a Sunday! Maybe it is to “try and lead our family to Christ or be a witness to them.” So, we skip church in order to attend the barbecues, parties, and other family events instead of being where we should be – the house of God.
Christians, may we be slow to make a doorway where the Lord did not intend for a doorway to be!
II. TO STAY COMFORTABLE; YET CLOSE TO CHRIST
“And the servants and officers stood there, who made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.” – John 18:18
“And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.” – John 18:25
Now that Peter was on the inside we find him standing next to those who had taken Jesus that night, and he is warming his hand with them. He is warming his hands with the world!! He put himself in a position that would make it very easy to deny the Lord.
Often times denying Christ comes in order to stay comfortable. We are running with the wrong crowd and therefore, when the time comes that we are put on the spot we often convince ourselves that God will understand and we later live with the regret of our denial. May I also say that God does not understand!
Many today benefit from salvation, but do not want the requirements of being a Christian imposed upon their life. We want to know that we are going to Heaven, but we do not want to move out of our comfort zone to serve Him.
We must stop convincing ourselves that we can live comfortably amongst the world and expect to stay close to Christ. In just a few short verse, because of these denials, Peter is going to run and discover that he has never felt further away from the Lord!
III. TO AVOID CONFRONTATION
“One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.” – John 18:26,27
As the conversation of verse twenty-five continues regarding Peter being a follow of Jesus, standing at the same fire is a family member of Malchas the man whose ear Peter had cut off earlier. So, here is Peter warming his hands by the fire, and one of the servants of the high priest looks at him through the fire’s glow and says something like, “Hey, didn’t I see you there tonight in the garden? Weren’t you the one who cut off my family members ear?”
There was something about Peter! He did not fit in with this crowd! Listen folks, there is something about a saved believer – we should not fit in with this world! “This world is not my home I’m just a passing through.” Something about Peter made it such that he did not fit in with the crowd he was with that night!
Are we ok with the fact that we do not fit in with the world! We should not fit in with the world, and the world should not fit in with the saved! There ought to be something compeling the unsaved to get saved – that something is actually a Someone – the Spirit of God! Through our speech and through our manner of life the unsaved world ought to see and hear Christ in us!
We must stop denying our Lord for fear of confrontation. It does not make sense to those around the world fire why our churches sing the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. It does not make sense to those around the worlds fire why we still “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)
The things of God have never made sense to the world! We live in the end times and the closer the return of our Lord gets the more confrontation between the world and Christianity there will be. These are not the days to deny Christ to avoid confrontation. May we not be a people that go out and look for the confrontation, but if the confrontation comes to us, let us be ready to take a strong stand and boldly proclaim that Jesus Christ is our Lord!