Jesus is the Son of Man
All right! Turn with me, if you will, to Luke chapter 22. As always, if you do not have a Bible or are in need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we can get one into your hands.
So, as we saw last week, we are spending the next chapter and a half or so, the rest of chapter 22 and all of chapter 23 in the darkness. This is both physical and spiritual darkness.
To catch us up, Jesus, celebrating Passover in the Upper Room with the 12 disciples, took his last opportunity to teach and prepare the disciples. Jesus told them that he would be betrayed, and he was. He told them that he will be killed and that is the institution of the new Covenant, and we are going to see that happen here.
When the disciples heard that, they didn’t like that. They had a history of not understanding, whether purposely or not, when Jesus said he had to die. Peter tried to stand in the way of it back when he confessed Jesus as the Christ, and Jesus called him out for trying to interfere with Gods plans. And here, Peter is one of the ones that promises Jesus that he is willing to die for him or go to prison for him. Jesus calmly tells him, No. In fact, this very night, you will deny me three times before the rooster crows.
Jesus and his disciples left the upper room, went to pray in the solitude of the garden for a bit and then a group led by Judas the betrayer comes up to them and are ready to take Jesus into custody. There was a brief skirmish that Jesus settles down pretty quickly and that’s where we pick up with this morning’s passage.
Today we are going to look at Luke chapter 22, verses 54 through 62. Ill be reading out of the English Standard Version. I do encourage you to grab your preferred translation and follow along as we read the word of God.
Luke 22:54-62, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records:
Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
Thus says the Word of God.
So, the temple guards seize and arrest Jesus. He is now in their official custody. They lead him away from the garden, back into Jerusalem and to the home of the chief priest, the head of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the top group of religious leaders and decision makers among the Jewish people. They were the political elite of our day, the religious elite of their day.
And it’s interesting that they brought Jesus first to the Chief priest’s home and not to any of the Roman officials, at least not yet. This will help show the illegitimacy of the arrest of Jesus and his upcoming trials. But we will start getting into that more in the next few weeks.
So, one of the interesting things is that, at this point, we don’t know what happened to at least 9 of the twelve disciples. All we know is that the scriptures say they scattered. The other Gospels tell later what happened to Judas. And we presume, based on what happens later that John is running to go get Mary, Jesus’ mother. But in this pretrial and trial period of time, the only disciple that we have named in any way is Peter.
Peter is following the temple guards who arrested Jesus and are leading him to wherever they were going. He is following them at a distance, showing, at least more than the others, some boldness and bravery. However, he is showing it from a distance, in the dark, when its not physically costing him anything.
Now, it is likely that, as people were out that night, they would have seen and unusual scene. They would have seen this man being led through the streets by the temple guards and some Roman soldiers. This would not have been an everyday occurrence, at least I wouldn’t think so.
There would have been a lot of talk and speculation as to who and why this man was being arrested. They may have recognized Jesus as the one who was arrested. But the commotion, the something happening, something different would have drawn a crowd for sure.
Just like a car accident can cause issues in traffic, even if the wreck is not on the road, it can cause slow traffic and rubber necking, that same sort of mindset, human nature can cause crowds to gather and hang around and try to find out what’s going on.
Because it was at night, it was cool and dark. The crowd gathered outside the chief priest’s home, in the courtyard, and they started a fire to stay warm and to have some light. And Peter joins this crowd, trying to keep warm, trying to blend in, hoping no one notices him. Maybe he is trying to sneak closer. Maybe he is trying to get more information. Regardless, he is in the courtyard of the home where Jesus was taken, and he is obviously nervous.
Now, v 56, a servant girl sees him in the fire light. She says to someone, or everyone, Hey, that guy right there. He was with that guy they just paraded through here!
Peter’s response, Nope, I wasn’t with him!
And there is no indication of what his tone of voice was here.
We get here 3 accusations of Peter’s association with Jesus. We get 1 eyewitness, the servant girl; “He was with him!” WE see I direct, face to face accusation. “You were with him!” And we get a guy using corresponding evidence, whether its circumstantial or not, “You have a Galilean accent, just like his followers!”
And we see Peter deny each of these instances. Now, my question is why? Why did Peter deny it? Well, there are a couple of options. First, the obvious and often given answer is that he feared for his life. By why was he afraid for his life? He wasn’t arrested in the garden. The guards had no interest in him. They were only interested in Jesus. If they wanted him, they would have had plenty of reason, after cutting off the servant’s ear and all that. But they just took Jesus and left.
So, its possible that Peter was worried that the crowd that gathered would identify him as an accomplice of the criminal that was just arrested and form a mob against him. He could also be worried that he would be chased away from where Jesus was and wouldn’t be able to gather any more information.
Regardless of the reason, regardless of what was going through Peters mind, three times someone confronted, accused, asked, that Peter was with and had known and was a follower of Jesus. And three times Peter denied knowing, having been with or following Jesus.
Immediately after Peter gave the third denial, the rooster crowed, fulfilling exactly what Jesus said would happen. Now, these three denials took place over the course of a couple of hours. Because of that, its possible that Jesus was being led out of the chief priest’s home on his way to the next trial or destination. The reason I say this is because Luke records that when Jesus heard the rooster crow, he looked directly at Peter.
We don’t know exactly what the look was. Was it forgiveness? Love? Acknowledgement? Disappointment? Pain?
Honestly, we don’t know. And honestly, it doesn’t matter. The fact is that Jesus knew exactly where peter was and the moment the rooster crowed, he looked directly at him and the way that it reads, Peter saw Jesus look at him and that look triggered the memory of what Jesus had told him hours before in the Upper Room.
What Jesus says will come true. He knows what is coming and he proved it to Peter. Peter would never forget that moment.
So, I want to look for a moment at how Peter is an example for us to be aware of.
Peter was a man who was full of pride. He was quick to react. He was quick to talk. That would end up serving him well in the future, but it could also get him in trouble. Part of that was his pride. 20 plus verses earlier, he told Jesus I will go to jail, and I will die for you! And he thought, he believed that he could back that up.
But he was also neglectful of his prayer time. Jesus told him in the garden, pray so that you will not enter into temptation. And instead, Peter fell asleep.
One commentator writes that this put Peter into the most vulnerable position one can be in: “Prayerless but full of presumption.” And in that position, Peter gave in to temptation. He gave in to temptation in the garden with his impulsivity in attacking the servant and cutting off his ear. He gave into temptation when he, three times, denied Jesus on this night.
Peter thought he could follow Jesus and that he could do it on his own and through his own power and ability.
We are not saved by our actions. Period. Full Stop. Our actions, our behavior, our morals, our anything cannot save us, at all.
However, it is our actions and our behavior that testify to and show our faith.
WE can say, I love you Jesus! But if we don’t act on that, if we don’t live that out, then, do we really?
We can be ready to acknowledge our faith and live it out in church, or around fellow Christians but are we ready to do so out in the world, for all to see?
Philip Ryken says it this way: “The true test of discipleship is our witness to the world, not and not just the promises we make to God.”
It seems to me, that Jesus had two reasons why he prophesied or predicted or whatever you want to call it, that Peter would deny him three times. First of course, is that he knows all. He knows it before it happens, and he proved it by saying this unthinkable would happen and then having it occur exactly how he said it would happen.
Second, I see in this, Jesus telling us to not make promises that you can’t and won’t keep. Don’t make promises that depend on your own strength and ability. James, the brother of Jesus touches on this in his letter later in the Bible. James 4:13-17, he writes:
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
Peter didn’t think there was any chance of deny Jesus. He thought he would do anything and everything to protect Jesus, not knowing that what was going to happen needed to happen and was the will of God.
Jesus knew it all. He knew Peters sins before Peter committed them. He knew before hand, and he forgave him. He knew Peters sins beforehand and he gave Peter directions, instructions for afterwards. Remember back in this chapter back in verse 32, Jesus was saying to Peter, And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
He was telling Peter, you will sin. After you do, after you repent and turn again back to me, use this experience, use your former sins and use your repentance to be an example and use it to strengthen your brothers.
Look, if Peter can fall, if he can sin this grievously, then any of us can. But, if Peter can be forgiven, if Peter can be restored and if Peter can be used by God, then any of us can.
Peter is a warning to us all, that any of us can and will mess up. We can and will sin. But Peter should also be a balm to us and should give us a sense of security.
After all of this, Peter went off and wept bitterly. We know that he was repentant because of what Jesus said earlier, that he would, and based on how Peter would respond and react and how he would go out and publicly spread the Gospel after the ascension of Jesus.
There is a big difference in “wishing he had never sinned,” which is a good description of what we see from Judas after all this, and truly repenting, which we see with Peter. Paul writes about the difference in 2 Corinthians 7:10: For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
Have your sins ever brought you to tears, like they did Peter? Whatever the look that Jesus Gave Peter in the courtyard was, what it accomplished was much more important. Peter saw, in that look, how bad and how serious his sins were. He saw that it was his sins that were going to send Jesus to the cross.
Peter saw that and he wept bitterly over his sins. IF we have an accurate and a right understanding of our sins and how devastating they are, how heinous they are, even the itty bitty ones that don’t affect any one and no one knows about, even those sins, each and every single one of them tears apart our relationship with God and separates us from him, if we truly know that and understand that, it should drive us to weep bitterly as well.
But if that’s all it does, it is simply the worldly sorrow that Paul mentions. But if it causes us to turn again, if it brings us to repentance, to change and to lean wholly and completely on Jesus Christ and him alone, then there is a good result from what happened.
We see the change in Peter, we see how he responds to this night. We see him going from three denials of Jesus to Jesus telling him three times on the beach that he loves him, reassuring him of his forgiveness and standing before God. We see Peter going from public denials of Jesus to the public preaching o the Gospel, repent, belief and be baptized in the beginning of the book of Acts.
Jesus first words of public ministry, back in Mark 1, Repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is at hand. And he keeps preaching that same message through his earthly ministry, through his arrest here to Peter, through his crucifixion, to the thief on the cross and after his resurrection, sending his Apostles out to preach the very same message, making disciples of all nations.
So, this is my message to you, the message that Jesus preaches. Repent and believe for the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Lord God, We can and will lose anything that is dependent in us. Thank you God, Father, that our salvation is not dependent on us, but that it is solely, 100% dependent on you and your faithfulness.
Thank you or the gift of faith. Thank you for the gift of repentance. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. Help us to recognize our sins, and how devastating they are. Help us to repent and to believe and to go out and show our faith by our actions, depending solely and completely on you, Jesus and you alone.