Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”…
54 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.
What in the world happened to Peter to stand so sure and claim that he would never deny Jesus and then a few hours later do just that very thing?
Self confidence – That’s all. Peter was confident in himself. He just knew he would never do that. Everything related to Peter’s denials will go back to this. When we are self confident we need nothing else. Note it well – knowing that a sin is very grievous did not stop Peter from committing it. What caused Peter to fall was not that he didn’t know about it – he did. It was not that he thought it was no big deal. We can see that he knew it was a great big deal “I will never do this horrible thing!!”. What caused Peter to fall was his certainty that he would not.
“I would never do THAT”. Do you have anything that you can confidently say that about? “I’m not perfect, but …”.
Can you envision yourself denying Jesus Christ? Can you see yourself saying “I do not follow, nor do I think it is a good idea to be a follower of Jesus Christ”? NEVER!! Well – a better man than you thought that too. And within a few hours he was doing the very thing he said he would never do. And if you can deny him in the same way that Peter did, you can deny him in ways that you think are no big deal and deny him in ways that Peter never did.
The thing about Peter’s self confidence is that he is maintaining to know better than Jesus. It is Jesus who says that he will deny him. It is Jesus who later tells him to pray so that he will not fall into temptation. But Peter knows better. He knows better than God. Adam and Eve knew better than God. And whenever we see a text of Scripture that warns us and we do not heed the warning, we know better than God too.
Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
I have been quoting Colossians 2:8 in my preaching and teaching for years. I quote it much because I am concerned about young people who are going there. It is not wrong to get educated. God made the mind and He calls us to use it well. The Bible is true and tells us that in wisdom people can became fools. This happens in the minds of those who think that education is all about being right and knowing more and being able to make the right decisions and being able to analyse properly and decide accurately. And there is nothing more stupid than an educated person who replaces his moral compass with a degree. So when Jesus says to us – Colossians 2:8 … do we, whoever we are and whatever our level of education, much or little, really look at the verse and say “This tells me that I am able to be deceived by the various philosophies and cultural ideas and popular ways of thinking that mark our times? This tells me that if I am not careful I too will become like others who used to be so full of faith and vibrancy and now have no use for anything that smacks of evangelical faith”. Do we read these texts and say – “I sure hope THEY pay attention to this”? Do we look at this and say “This is for the poor uneducated masses”?
This is serious and we need to be in dead earnest about how we guard our souls. Peter wasn’t.
Romans 12:16 – never be wise in your own eyes
James 4:13-15 – don’t even say that you will go someplace tomorrow.
The Lord’s prayer – O God do not allow me to be tempted beyond my ability to bear. For if you do not protect me I WILL FALL.
This is to be our attitude.