We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death and the final desertions and betrayals.
60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward
61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”
63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.
66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.
67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him
68 and said, “Prophecy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:60-75.
1. Colossal Life Failures. Nothing really compares to these denials by Peter coupled with the wholesale desertion of Jesus by ALL of the disciples. Incredible. Three years of 24/7 training, teaching, loving, warning, demonstrations of work only done by god, affirmations of the heavenly Father, fulfillment of prophecies, miracles, raising the dead. Incredible.
2. Results of Failure. Simply, Pete was crushed. He wept bitterly. If ever you think one would not recover from personal failure, it would be Peter.
3. Life after Failure. But not so with the grace and forgiveness of God.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32.
Yet in one of the most powerful expressions of grace, redemptions and recovery, Jesus affirms that Peter and God had unfinished business. This is incredible. What have you done that you believe is not now forgivable? There are consequences, but forgiveness and grace are always there. This is so powerful we will spend next week on it also. Stay well.