John 18:25 - 27
KJV - 25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26 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?
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I think that Peter's denials arose out of a combination of weakness and fear. Despite Peter's prideful declaration earlier in the evening that, even if he had to die with Jesus, he would never deny Him or fall away from Him (Matthew 26:33; Mark 14:31; Luke 22:33; John 13:37), he had already demonstrated his weakness by not even being able to avoid falling asleep (along with James and John) while Jesus was praying nearby, after Jesus had specifically asked them to stay awake while He prayed (Matthew 26:36-41). As Jesus said, their spirit was willing, but their flesh was weak. In addition to this, after Jesus' arrest, the full realization of the imminent danger that not only Jesus, but he himself as one of Jesus' disciples, was in must have occurred to Peter as he was following Jesus (along with John) to the house of the high priest, especially since Peter (unlike the other apostles, who had fled when Jesus was arrested (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50)) would be immediately available for arrest if the Jewish authorities wished to do so. As a result, it was also fear of this possibility that led to Peter's repeated denials of being one of Jesus' followers, even profanely using an oath and invoking a curse on himself in the process to convince his listeners that his denials were the truth (Matthew 26:69-74). From a broader perspective, however, even though Peter's denials were undoubtedly fully his responsibility, and were deeply wrong, they were also used by God to prepare him for his forthcoming mission of leadership in the early church. They were the permanent remedy for the type of rash, inflated pride and over-confidence in himself and his own abilities that Peter had repeatedly shown (as noted in the narrative above), which stood in the way of his being used by God to full effect. Because of the memory of his denials (of which he repented and bitterly wept over (Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:62)), Peter would come to rely fully on God (rather than himself) for strength, which was the foundation for his forthcoming boldness and leadership of the apostles in proclaiming Jesus, even in the continuing face of the same kind of physical danger that had been present when Jesus was arrested, and even to the point of his own eventual crucifixion.
I humbly submit for your consideration that Peter was laboring in fear of the high priest kinsman and any other possible relatives gathered by the fires or within the court yard. (Luke 22:50) And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. Jesus rebuked Peter for striking a servant who was not a direct threat as his back was to the sword in Peter’s right hand to enable the clean cutting of the right ear only [shield in left and sword in right was the custom]. This unknown servant was really only doing what his master [boss] had requested, him to do. (Luke 22:56-59) Peter disowns Jesus at the fires and within the court yard likely because his servant victim had unknown relatives seated or standing among them. Wanting to exact revenge for their poor relative with the new ear problem, which was the custom. In the Lord's freedom......warrior on
I believe Peter' denial is related to Christ's words (Luke 22:31-34): "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Peter was subjected to a severe personal trial or test by Satan, which he totally failed, but Christ's prayer saved him from completely losing his faith. Peter's place in the scriptures seem to imply he was the first apostle among equals before his fall. Also, he is the only one who received revelation from the Father about the true nature of Christ (Matt 16:17). Throughout the Old Testament we have accounts of the fall or failure of the first-born, starting with Cain, through Esau, Reuben, Aaron, etc. Perhaps this may explain Peter's personal trial since he could be regarded as the first-born apostle.
I think Peter denied Jesus for the same reason any man or woman refuses to acknowledge the truth, any truth in any situation (since all truth belongs to God, and Jesus said he IS the truth, John 14:6:) - Selfishness. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." - Luke 9:23
It is my opinion, that, out of living in the world, Peter really didn't even realize that he was denying Christ until the rooster crowed and he remembered Jesus words. Then he wept, realizing what he had done. Sin can and does sneak up on us. Does not make it less sinful that we sin without even thinking about it, really the opposite. Remember Jesus later asking Peter 3 times: "Peter, do you really Love me?" Each time, the point was driven home to Peter that he shouldn't just answer out of habit or being "in the moment", rather he should answer from his heart and mean it forever. In the same way, we should strive to live separated from the world as we are called to do. To be in the world but not of the world.
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