Peter’s Denial

John 18:12-18, 25-27 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spoke unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. Then said the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Are not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He said, I am not. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Are not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, said, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew. 

‘Captain’ the Greek word chiliarchos – the commander of 1,000 men; one of 6 tribunes attached to a legion, showing the importance the Romans attached to the arrest of Jesus, the Jews have represented it as a dangerous case of sedition.

‘Annas’ – he was perhaps the head of the Sanhedrin. He had been appointed high priest several times and had five sons and a son-in-law who had held this office. ‘Same year’ the office was no longer for life, as originally. Now it was by appointment by civil rulers and not by God.

‘He, which gave counsel to the Jews’ – he had already passed sentence that Jesus should be killed (11:49-52), hence he was disqualified to be His judge. But Christ was not tried by rules of justice or He would not have been crucified.

‘That disciple’ perhaps John himself who always refers to himself in the third person (13:23; 19:26; 21:7, 20). Or it could have been Nicodemus or Joseph (19:38).

‘Damsel that kept the door’ tradition says her name was Ballila. Women were doorkeepers (Acts 12:13). ‘Are not thou also one of this man’s disciples? I am not.’ first of three lies (18:17, 18:25-26). In verse 27 the third lie and denial of Jesus are stated.

‘They’ the officers and servants of the high priest, the Roman Chiliarch and his soldiers had gone back to the barracks, leaving Jesus in the hands of the Jews.

‘Warmed himself’ – a dangerous thing to do – to warm one’s self by the fire of his enemies.

Twelve steps in Peter’s backsliding from Matthew: he boasted (Matt. 26:33; Pro. 16:18); he made Christ a liar (Matt. 26:33-35); he slept instead of praying (Matt. 26:40); he failed to mortify his flesh (Matt. 26:41); he relied on the arm of flesh (Matt. 26:51); he forsook Christ and fled (Matt. 26:56); he followed afar off (Matt. 26:58); he sat with the Lord’s enemies (Matt. 26:58); he gave up hope and became discouraged (Matt. 26:58); he became afraid of men (Matt. 26:69-74); he lied (Matt. 26:69-74); and he cursed (Matt. 26:69-74).  Jesus had predicted his backsliding and his re-conversion (Luke 22:31-34).

Peter’s Denial Foretell

John 13:36-38 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Where I go, thou cannot follow me now; but thou shall follow me afterwards. Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Will thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. 

The 30th New Testament prophecy in John that is fulfilled: ‘Where I go, thou cannot follow me now; but thou shall follow me afterwards.’

Peter wanted to know just why He could not follow Jesus now. He was willing (so he said) to die and go along with Him now. Christ knew Peter better than he knew himself, so made a prediction that proved it.

Peter’s answer to Jesus was that he was ready to go with Him, both into prison and to death. (Luke 22:33) This kind of pride and boastfulness was the cause of Peter’s downfall (Pro. 16:18). Such is likely to happen to anyone who does not take heed (1Cor. 10:12-13).

The 31st New Testament prophecy in John that is fulfilled: The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.’ This prophecy seems to have been uttered more than once: in the upper room (John 13:38; Luke 22:34) and once after leaving it (Mat. 26:30-35; Mark 14:26-32).

In Luke 22:32 Jesus said the following to Peter: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fails not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” This does not mean that Peter had not been converted, for he had been and had served God for over three years. It simply refers to the fact that he was headed for a fall, and that he would come back to God and be reconverted becoming stronger than before. This is not the case with all men that fall into pride.

Will You Also Go Away?

John 6:64, 66-71 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will you also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.

Jesus knew from the beginning of His ministry who they were that did not believe in Him not, and who was to betray Him. Jesus knew two things from the beginning of His ministry. Many disciples went back – left Christ and did not follow Him anymore – but not the twelve for He asked: “Will you twelve also abandon Me?”

Peter answered that they had no one else to go to, that Christ alone had the words of eternal life, that Jesus was the Christ and that Christ was the Son of the living God. This kind of confession brings the new birth (1Jn. 5:1)

Christ chose the twelve when they were eager to follow Him and they were seeking to hear God’s will. ‘One of you is a devil’ – Here it reveals Judas as an adversary of Christ and under the influence of a devil (demon) and not as some say that he was satan.

Judas Iscariot was an ordinary man, the son of Simon (John 12:4; 13:2, 26); a genuine chosen and empowered apostle (Matt. 10:1-20; Mark 3:14-19; Luke 6:12-16; 9:1-10; Acts 1:17); the one carrying the purse of the disciples (John 12:4-6; 13:29); and a successful teacher and healer (Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:10). He was named “Iscariot,” meaning “man of Kerioth,” a place in Judah (Jos. 15:25). He became a “thief” and an “adversary” of Christ late in His ministry (John 6:70; 12:4-6). He betrayed Jesus (Matt. 26:14-16, 47-50; Mark 14:10-11, 43-45; Luke 22:3-6, 47-49; John 13:2; 18:2-5; Acts 1:16-25), returned the money to the chief priests (Matt. 27:3-10), committed suicide and is lost (Matt. 26:24; 27:5; Mark 14:21; Luke 22:22; John 17:12; Acts 1:16-25). There are prophecies concerning him (Matt. 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:18-26; 17:12; Acts 1:16, 20; Psa. 41:9; 69:25; 109:8; Zech. 11:12-13).

Calling of the First Disciples

John 1:35-42  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek you? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwell thou? He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first finds his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 

Two of John the Baptist’s disciples, the one was Andrew (Peter’s brother), the other probably John the Apostle, as he never mentions himself in this book. They looked upon (Jesus) the Greek word emblepo, which means to look with fixed eyes upon or look intently as they heard John the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God!” A symbol of Christ used thirty-two times in the Bible.

Andrew and John asked Jesus “Rabbi, (which means Master) where dwell thou?” Jesus told them, “Come and see.” So, they came and saw where He stayed and stayed with Him for that day because it was already the tenth hour – 4 pm.

‘found the Messias’ Finding Jesus changes one’s life (2Cor. 5:17-18). Messias is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew Mashiyach, meaning anointed (John 4:25; 1Sam. 2:10, 35; Psa. 2:2; Dan. 9:25-26). The equivalent of mashiyach in the Greek is Christos, used of Jesus 569 times in the New Testament.

‘Cephas’ is the Aramaic word for stone (1Cor. 1:12; 3:22; 9:5; 15:5; Gal. 2:9). And ‘stone’ is the Greek word petros which means little stone, rock and 161 other places translated “Peter”. This shows how Jesus could judge a man at the first look. He knew Peter to be firm and strong in soul, and hard and unyielding in purpose.

The Parable of the Laborers

For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and said unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He said unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.  So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard said unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.  Mat 20:1-14 KJV

The occasion of this parable is given in Matthew 19:27-30. It was given to answer Peter’s question. “We have forsaken all and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” Mt. 19:27

Peter wanted to know how much and what kind of wages anyone would get if he worked for God as the disciples were doing. Jesus then gave this story of a particular householder hiring laborers to work in his vineyard. He went out at dawn to hire laborers. The custom was for laborers to collect at certain places ready for work in the surrounding fields if hired. All hours of the day they would stand around such places, waiting to be hired.

In this particular story the householder hired all the first lot for one penny a day, which was the Roman silver denarius that was the basis of the common transactions of the day. It was a good price for a day’s work and more than the daily pay of a Roman soldier. Later he went out at the third hour (9:00 AM), the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh hours (12:00, 3:00, and 5:00 PM) and finding others idle, agreed to give them what was right. This particular man was good-hearted and gave all a penny, regardless of how long they had worked. The first ones complained because they had worked longer. The goodman of the house frankly told them that he had done no wrong, but had done as he had agreed.

Jesus rebuked Peter for having the wrong motive in service and taught him by this story that God was just and good and would fully reward all service of those who retain the right spirit of humility and have the true motive of service. God wants willing service from all, without thought of wages or rewards. Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:11-15; 9:16-27; 2 Cor. 5:10-12

The central truth illustrated by the parable is found in Mat. 19:30 and is repeated again at the end of the parable. Mt. 20:16

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

It illustrates the necessity of self-humbling and of being content with rewards to come. Mt. 19:29-30; 20:16  It is a change of place between the first and the last, yet not a universal change. The first ones were first in magnitude and extent of their work, but became last because of the spirit in which it was performed. Spirit and motive only, not calling and nationality, have to do with this change. It is not as is commonly taught that the first (the Jews) shall be last and that the last (the Gentiles) shall be first, but “everyone that exalt himself shall be abased; and he that humble himself shall be exalted”. Mt. 18:3-4; 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14

Many are called to God’s work, but few retain that temper of spirit, that humility and entire submission to God, which will, in the end, cause them to be rewarded. Often those who are first in time, opportunity, education, and length of preparation, are last in usefulness and success. Time is not the only element in service. The short life and work of Jesus is an outstanding example of this truth. These sayings apply to individual Jews and Gentiles, but never as a whole to either class.

I choose to humble myself and to have no wrong motives in service; God shall be glorified in all that I do!