Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. – Matthew 26:69-75 ESV
2023 is the year to get closer to God. As crazy as things are getting in the world, we need to resolve WHO WE WILL SERVE! The ‘Time of the Gentiles’ is coming to a close and we need to get as close to Jesus as possible. See Romans 10:19- 11:32. As a matter of fact, if we were to set a single NEW YEARS RESOLUTION, it should be to get as close to God as possible, by getting as close to the SHEPHERD as possible. None of us know the exact day and time, but we can DISCERN the SEASON of HIS COMING- and it is soon! In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 26, this point is made in scripture. “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 26:36-37,44-51)
Leader, Pastor Chuck Smith in his commentary on Matthew makes some great key points on this subject. He notes some lessons that we can learn from Peter through these highlighted scriptures above. Remember if you are a WARRIOR for God then Satan will want to SIFT YOU LIKE WHEAT! Jesus prayed that Peter’s Faith would FAIL HIM NOT! In Luke’s Gospel chapter 22; 31-32 we hear Jesus’ warnings and prescience! When Jesus warns us, we need to HEED HIS WARNINGS and remove our PRIDE! Peter was on a road to DENIAL and we can all learn from his mistakes. Pastor Smith reminds us the Bible was given to us for this purpose, to learn from others and to understand how to respond, react, repent, reconcile, and recommit! Peter’s first mistake was in arguing with the LORD! Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night”. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” …. (ibid v31,33,35) God knows all, sees all, and is ALL TRUTH! It is a mistake to argue with Jesus. Whenever we argue with Jesus- WE ARE ALWAYS WRONG! Peter was also struggling with PRIDE! Pride comes before the fall! Beware of BOASTING IN THE FLESH! One of the greatest Christians to ever walk the planet had no faith in HIS FLESH, neither should we! For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For the flesh craves what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you want. (Romans 7:18, Galatians 5:17) In the 3rd chapter of Ephesians Paul doubles down on the weakness of our flesh; “put NO CONFIDENCE in the flesh”! The Gospels of Mark and Matthew record Jesus telling his disciples the same thing; See Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:21.
Conduit, the third step on the ROAD TO DENIAL is doing the wrong things at the wrong times. Peter was sleeping when He should have been praying! See Matthew 26:36-46, Luke 22:39-46, Mark 14:32-42. Over the years, I have had more people ask me to stop sending them my daily WORD TEXT because of sleep, than anything else! Many value their sleep, more than they value their time with God, their time of reflection and their time of introspection. If we would pray more, and sleep less, our problems would not be as big, as we make them- because our focus would be on our God, and He is bigger, than our problems and our Goliaths! Then there is the fact that Peter was willing to die for the LORD, when He took out his sword and attempted to fight the Roman soldiers with the weapons of our flesh, instead of the weapons of the Spirit. When he pulled his sword, he put his life on the line, and Jesus told him; “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:51-52) We must remember that the BATTLE IS THE LORDS! It is not by power nor by might or abilities of our own, but by the Spirit of God, that we will live fruitful lives in the Lord’s service on this earth. Zechariah 4:6; So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Human might, power, and strength are not sufficient to accomplish the work of God on earth. “A lot of people find it easier to die for Jesus, than to live for Jesus. It takes MORE COURAGE to LIVE for our LORD, than to DIE for our Lord”. (Chuck Smith) The FINAL STEP on our ROAD TO DENIAL, is that Peter followed Jesus from AFAR! (v58) The Wolves get the sheep that are the furthest from the Shepherd. The wolf normally stays away from the Shepherd, so those sheep that are closest to the Shepherd are the safest. There is no such thing as a disciple in the distance! Because of Peters following from afar, Peter was warming himself at the enemy’s FIRE! It is always a dangerous place to be, warming ourselves at the enemy’s fire. “I thought you were a Christian, what are you doing here”? When you can find warmth in the things of the world- you are in a dangerous place! Denial is NOT a RIVER IN EGYPT! The Time is Now to get on the narrow path to the LORD and get off the ROAD TO DENIAL!