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Monday, April 30, 2012

Peter's Denial

     Jesus Arrested:

Earlier Jesus told peter that before the Rooster Crows twice you will have denied me three times. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and Peter were the only two disciples on record as having come with Jesus to his trial events. John was well known to the high priest, probably because he stuck with Jesus like white on rice and became inseparable from Him. So after John had made some connections he went out and spoke to the doorman and had Peter let inside the courtyard. John is not with Peter during the following events, so it can be assumed that he is very near Jesus.
Peter, also, being let in my John could have been with John near Jesus, but he was scared of what was happening. Peter was all ready to die with Jesus earlier today, but now he is scared. Why? I think I can tell you. Wrath, anger, hate, violence, they are all powerful emotions. With the adrenaline of the moment, in a battle or fight, you can do nearly superhuman things. There are stories of people even lifting a car off of victim of an accident, such as this one:

     The Fight Is On!

But I have found in the past that when two people are fighting in the heat of a moment, a soft answer really does turn away wrath. As I separated two men recently who were in a fight and stood as Peace Keeper between them, the Spirit of Grace on me cooled the situation. Jesus operated in that same Spirit of Grace when He stopped Peter from doing more harm, after Peter had cut off the servants ear. In fact, I doubt Peter was aiming at the mans ear, Peter was a fisherman, not a soldier, and likely missed.

In Peter's mind dying with Jesus was likely a sword fight to the death against the soldiers of Rome as they tried to free the country from Roman oppression. He had this idea of a battle coming that he would fight. He saw the battle coming with this gang of malcontents coming with clubs, swords, and torches. Here was the battle he had promised to fight for Jesus... except... Jesus didn't see it that way. He tried to tell Peter earlier, that it wasn't going to play out that way, but Peter gave it the old College Try. When Jesus said: "I AM" the whole crowd fell over. 

Now the word used here for Roman Detachment is the Greek: Speira (a Band off Group), and could have even been a Vexillatio (an ad hoc group of soldiers used to put down rebellions or emergencies, much like a swat team today. There is no number recorded in scriptures so we are left to make assumptions as to the size of this group. But seeing how much the Priests feared and hated Jesus, and their reaction after His death to guard the tomb, I suspect that they sent the largest group they could gather. Sources say this group could have been between 500-1500 soldiers. The Romans did participate with the Jewish Priests as leaders of the land. By getting co-operation from accepted leaders, the Roman occupations were much easier to manage. 

They came with swords and clubs and torches. This was a not a peaceful group. They came prepared to kill the disciples and take Jesus by force if they had to. They were not prepared for the Jesus who would surrender so willingly. People had tried to take Jesus before and He walked through the crowd as though they weren't there. Jesus was known to have 12 full time disciples, 70 part time missionaries, and 100's of followers at any given time. This could have been an undertaking. This was the Passover weekend. This was a time for people to gather. Surely Jesus would have been gathered with large crowds. 

They did not realize that He would go on His terms, and they were ready to try to force Him. They came with force because they thought they would need it. Had they known it was His PLAN to die at this time, they could have sent one little child and He would have gone. 

So this group which could have numbered in the 100's or higher all fell down at the words "I AM". I've experienced this phenomena in the positive. In meetings where the Anointing of Jesus is running hot I've seen whole groups fall down, even become semi or wholly unconscious instantly. God's presence is not a thing to be trifled with. I imagine that when Satan was cast out of Heaven it had nothing to do with fellow angels fighting him. Jesus tells us that he fell like lightening. I imagine God the Father moved one finger and WHAM! Those fallen fell like lightening form heaven. There is NONE like the LORD!

     Peters Denial

I digress, so back to Peter. Peter had this battle image in his mind, ready to die for Jesus to take back Israel from Rome. The soldiers/mob had their minds set on a battle and taking by force. Jesus' Anointing of Peace came in and put a stop to both sides of that battle. Tempers and emotions were running hot. He put a stop to Peter's aggression by telling correcting him in from of everyone and cleaning up his mess. He put a stop to the mob's aggression with "I AM" and knocked them over in the power of the Spirit. 

That is the background to this event. Peter is here now... in a courtyard. The battle images have been dashed and he sits here among the people. He is disappointed in Jesus, that's why he's not with John. He doesn't understand why this is happening. This wasn't the plan he had in mind. He was there in support, and curiosity, but this wasn't the idea. Now he has surrounded himself with a crowd to blend in. He was already wrong about the battle to come. He already had been disillusioned once today. He wouldn't stand by Jesus like John was, buy he still wanted to be here, find out what was going to happen. 

So Peter, full of doubt now, and fear, stood by the fire warming himself. It was a cold night. People don't warm themselves by the fire on a warm night. That means people were huddling, pushing, crowding near the fires. Lot's of people in close proximity and fire to light the faces of the crowd. People were talking about what was happening. Many there at the fire had most likely been there in that crowd that arrested Jesus. Most of them were probably in the other arena though, too interested in the man arrested to pay attention to this little man of no interest. So here sat Peter, among the people who hated him. When we allow depression and disillusionment steal our joy and faith we eventually find ourselves sitting among the enemy's people.

Peter had removed himself. He was alone, isolated. He disengaged in the process. John was there. John wasn't sitting with Peter. We find John there, with the women, at the foot of the cross. John was the only disciple to stand by Jesus the whole time. This is because he had such a deep revelation of Jesus' Love for him. He was there at the cross to take possession and care of Jesus' earthly mother. 

There was however one the high priests' servant girls was there. How dare the high priest have a servant girl. He is there to serve the people, not be served! Nevertheless he had servants. This girl was a curious and nosy little one. She was sitting there, in the light of the fire, staring at Peter intently. She was staring at him, studying his face. She said "You were with Jesus!" He denied it, then he got up and walked out onto the porch. 

She followed him. So people left him alone for awhile... but there is that girl staring at him. Probably talking to others that she knows. She finds a relative of the man who had his ear cut off by Peter who was also in the crowd that arrested Jesus. She said it was him, he denied, people were too interested in their fire to care. She would not let this go. She was intent on proving she was right. So she and this relative sat there are stared at him from a distance. The shadows of the fire danced over all their faces. They may have even been staring from behind in the shadows so as not to be noticed. Peter, so overwhelmed with shock and grief did not notice them. Now another girl, the relative of the man who had his ear cut off stand up and says: "You were with Jesus, this man was with Jesus!" He denied this again and the rooster crowd the first time.

The crowd probably hushed the girls, women were not given much importance in this society, so they probably hushed them. But now people are thinking about him. An hour passed. Peter stood quietly by the fire. Finally at the insistence of this little girl another person has been thinking about it. Peter's accent was that of a Galilean. "Surely, you are a Galilean, you must be one of His. Peter cursed and swore that he wasn't! The rooster crowd the second time... 

Jesus looked over to Peter and gave him that look of Love. It wasn't a mocking look. It wasn't "I told you so sucker!" Jesus had Peter on His mind even now. In the middle of his own beating, Jesus turned his attention to Peter as if to say: Peter, I told you before so that you'd know I knew. It's done. I am going through with my plan. Peter is so confused by the whole event, and now he's sad that he denied Jesus just like He said! Peter leaves and weeps. 


The next time we see Peter he is still doubting the girls testimony about Jesus raising from the dead, but he and John are the first ones to the cave. This time is was John who stopped at the entrance to the tomb, and Peter who ran all the way in! Peter denies Jesus three times and later Jesus restores Peter by asking him THREE times, to "LOVE MY SHEEP!" and Peter spends the rest of his life LOVING Jesus' sheep walking in that redemption. 

     The Lesson:

There are times in life that we find ourselves disillusioned. We find that the dream we had planned wasn't God's dream. He had different plans. These times can bring with them a certain amount of grief. The grief is that feeling of loss. We feel as though a dream died. If we are note cautious at these times we find that we allow depression to enter in. Rather than standing with Jesus, assured that although our dream wasn't THE plan that He still has a plan and we're going to see it through; we are standing among enemies, warming ourselves by the fire. We sit there disengaged from the process, sulking over our loss. 

We must catch this tendency in ourselves. This was God's plan all along, we simply built up our hopes on imaginations of what we thought would happen, or what we thought God's plan was. Peter dreamed of a kingdom to replace Rome! Indeed the Kingdom of God, Jesus' favorite topic, DID replace Rome! It has replaced every kingdom that stood against it since. Hitler fell because the Kingdom of God cannot be fought against and won. Rome fell for the same reason. The Soviet's fell for the same reason. All kingdoms that stand against God and His Christ will fall! Peter wasn't wrong in his general dream of a Kingdom to come... he misunderstood the timing and method. 

We catch glimpses of God's plan for our lives and we must ask ourselves. Did the timing and method we devised, imagined, dreamed about, come from God? Did we ask him for the details? Or did we get a glimpse of the plan and fill in the details ourselves? Grief comes from a sense of loss. But when dreams die it is rarely because God's plan didn't become realized in our lives. More often, it is because OUR dreams about God's dream died. 

Jeremy Pearsons teaches that Faith is a response! (See this video from about 44:00 through about 59:00)(The whole thing is great! These times highlight this response issue.)

We can't make up any old thing and call it faith. We must hear from God HIS plan and respond to His plan! THAT is faith. When the Israelites were told to go into Canaan and take the land and they refused because of a bad report they angered God for doubting His word. God told them the plan had changed. Because they disobeyed they would stay out in the desert. They then packed up and headed to battle, like he told them the first time, but were totally beaten. This looked like faith, sounded like faith... it wasn't faith! It was foolishness and presumption! They were acting on an earlier Word from God and now totally ignoring His more recent instruction. We must hear from God about what HIS plan is for our lives TODAY. 

It is only through response to God's Word through prayer, that we can live victoriously. This victory is the only way to live a life free from these kinds of shattered facades we call dreams. Toss out your dream. Find out what God's dream for you is today!

Darrell G. Wolfe

The Story in Four Perspectives:
12 Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. 13 And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. 14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 15 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not." 18 Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself. 19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. 21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said." 22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?" 24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, "You are not also 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 him whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?" 27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him." 57 But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him." 58 And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" 59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean." 60 But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth." 68 But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, "This is one of them." 70 But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, "Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it." 71 Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!" 72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And when he thought about it, he wept.

69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee." 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying." 71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72 But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!" 73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you." 74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.


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