BUT PETER FOLLOWED HIM
Matthew 26:57 ¶ And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
Matthew 26:69 ¶ Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
It is the normally spiritual thing for the sheep to follow the Shepherd. For the Shepherd has given them two effectual things – hearing ears and following feet! John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Revelation 14:4 …These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. But things are quite different here with the Apostle Peter. Just notice how verse 58 begins – “But Peter!” Sounds more like a goat than a sheep! For the goats are always butting!
And, unlike Peter, obedient sheep follow the Master with a proper understanding which Peter doesn’t seem to possess. 1 Corinthians 10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. The obedient sheep follow him with no trust in themselves. But Peter is overcome with self confidence, imagining to bring in a far different kingdom than the Lord God intended! For all like Peter, who cannot discern the spirituality of the word of the Lord, are still presently striving to bring in a literal, earthly kingdom, which the Lord will not supply!
John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. How much plainer does it have to be? That is the King Himself saying, My kingdom is not of this world. And the scriptures farther state: Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. That is, the kingdom is not identified by natural things, but by spiritually supplied graces. 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. It is not just an enunciated, religious proclamation, but an effectual revelation, accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
But Peter was fighting physically! So he was not in the spirit of the King! He needed converting! Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Consider this next passage and see how Peter took it as a literal fight, with literal swords! Luke 22:35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. 36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. 37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. 38 And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.
The only sense that it is literal is that it is literally spiritual! For the christian is a soldier! 2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. And believers are to suit up with armor for the battle! Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. All believers have weapons with which to fight! But not literal, or natural weapons! 2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) They indeed, have a helmet and a sword, but not physical, or natural ones! Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
That which our Lord was trying to convey to the disciples was that things were, hereafter, going to be different for them. Notice the “But now” in verse 36. And see how that he was instructing them concerning the difference in their future ministry, from what it had been when he was present with them. For he clearly instructs them, for the things concerning me have an end. Their master, who had been on the front line, was going to be removed, and they would now have to step up to face these dangers themselves! Therefore, buying a sword does not mean to go down to the Army Surplus Store and purchase physical weapons. It simply means prepare yourselves for a spiritual warfare that you have, here-to-fore not had to enter into!
But Peter did not even know his own heart! For the Lord instructs him along with all his disciples, but Peter contradicts even the Lord, in order to show that he is not like the other disciples! Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. The Lord Jesus said, Thou shalt! But Peter replies, I will not!
And even with special instruction to himself from the Lord as to how dangerous the hour was, especially to himself, Peter refused to take heed! Luke 22:31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. For the Father had given the hour to the powers of darkness! Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. The Holy, Incarnate, Eternal Son of God then instructs Peter that Satan himself – not a lesser force of darkness – is coming after him! And he states that the warfare against him would be prayer! I have prayer for thee!
Therefore he instructs Peter to enter into prayer with Himself that his own temptation be not entered into! Matthew 26:40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. “If you would watch with me, then ye would not enter into temptation!” But Peter, in his self confidence refused to do so and went back to sleep! – And therefore, he miserably failed in his temptation!
But Peter also acted contrary to the scriptures, as applied by the Lord! Matthew 26:31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. The Lord quotes to them Zechariah 13:7. Better still he makes application of it to their present situation.
In verses 53 and 54 he tells them that his crucifixion on the cross is according to the fulfilling of the scriptures. And in the same instruction, he clearly informs them that it is just as much the fulfilling of the scriptures for the disciples to forsake him! But Peter refuses that inner inclination, motivated by self will, fueled by the misconception of the kingdom!
He would not pray in order that he would not enter into temptation. He therefore does not follow his inner inclination to flee with the rest of the disciples. But Peter does enter into (same Greek word “went in” in verse 58 as “enter into” in verse 41), the high priest’s palace and there has his threefold denial take place, just like the Lord told him! Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
And do we not see this trait in Peter even at the beginning of his discipleship? John 13:6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? 7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. 8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. 9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. 10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
But Peter, even here will not have that glorious humility of Christ that brought our salvation to be manifest. He wants the master to be a master according to Peter’s definition. And to him, the master should not serve the disciple! But was that not the very point of the foot washing? For it was not to establish a religious ordinance, but a spirit of humility!
And our Lord gives an indication that Peter would be finally saved from his self-willed spirit, in that he states to him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. How faithful, merciful and longsuffering is our dear Savior!
But even in this, Mr. Hard-head Peter, recovers himself so foolishly that he crosses the road just to fall into the opposite ditch! For he proclaims, “Wash my hands and head!” Little did he know that the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5), would require far more humiliation of his master than this washing of his feet! For Christ the Mighty Maker to die for man, the creature’s sin!
Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Isaiah 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
For it was Love that guided it all to its final good end! (See John 14:31). Love – the greatest of these! (1 Cor. 13:13). Love – that which God is! (1 John 4:8). Love – the guide and worker of faith. (Galatians 5:6 but faith which worketh by love.).
And it was the disciple whom Jesus loved – John, who gained Peter entrance into that palace, in order for him to work out his predestined place as a true apostle of Christ! John 18:15 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. 16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
Faith cometh by hearing! Therefore the issue with Peter was faith! (See Luke 22:32 above). For it was Peter who must preach on Pentecost for faith to come to the 3000 by his preaching of the Word. But it was John, whose issue was love, to both gain Peter access into the palace, and be given to Mary as a replacement son!
And there is not only the lack of a single rebuke of the Apostle John, but he stands forever known as the “son” for Mary in the place of his Lord! John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 16, 2015