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Peter’s Collapse (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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November 26, 2021 6:00 am

Peter’s Collapse (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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November 26, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 14:66-72)

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This speaks well of Peter.

It puts him in a class almost entirely by himself. Well, John the apostle, he's there too, not in the courtyard, but he's there in the quarters of the high priest. We get that from John's gospel. But Peter, there's so many others that are not following Jesus into this courtyard.

And so he puts himself in enemy territory, which makes me again reluctant to cast him as this coward. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the Gospel of Mark.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. But for now, let's join Pastor Rick in the Gospel of Mark chapter 14, as he begins a brand new message called Peter's Collapse. Mark's Gospel chapter 14, beginning in verse 66. Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, You also were with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied it, saying, I neither know nor understand what you are saying. And he went out on the porch and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again and began to say to those who stood by, This is one of them. But he denied it again. And a little later, those who stood by said to Peter again, Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it. Then he began to curse and swear, I do not know this man of whom you speak. A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said to him, Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.

And when he thought about it, he wept. This chapter or this passage, this paragraph, I could, a pastor could speak on this paragraph three times in a row and not repeat himself once. You can go in so many directions, so many lessons here. I don't plan to address too much the rooster crowing part. This is a very profound part, but my attention will be elsewhere not to take away from how meaningful it is. But there's just so many other areas.

Where do you go in 45, 50 minutes? What do you concentrate on? Well, you concentrate on what the Lord is leading you to say. And this message is entitled Peter's Collapse and the failure of a beloved servant. And Jesus loved Peter, no doubt about that. And yet we're watching, we're going to watch him unravel what we just did.

We're standing up and reading this. But we must let, must not let our feelings judge Peter. We have to go by the facts and stick to the record concerning him. And I say this because of all the commentaries that I have read over the years on this passage, which is found in all four Gospels incidentally, most of the commentators, they're pretty hard on Peter, calling him a coward and just slamming him.

And I don't agree with all of that. But one of the outstanding things that you can't get away from is that he did deny the Lord. And he did it at a time when the Lord is being shuffled from court to court and then crucified.

Those are facts. But was Peter's denial because he was a coward? Well, that means something to me. I want to know the answer to these things, because my turn may come when I am facing arrest, persecution or death for my Lord.

And so these things are critical to us. Yes, Peter was busy denying the Lord, but not so much looking to save his own skin as many cast him. He was cornered. He was called out and he collapsed.

And so hopefully we'll be looking to understand why he collapsed so that we would not, given a similar situation, put under such pressures. He purposed good in his heart. That's why he's still following the Lord. But suddenly and completely he was overcome with temptation. Temptation to do what?

Save his own skin? Again, I'm not so sure that's it. So we're going to look at this man who moments ago did not fear death, but now does not want to be associated with Christ and the consequences that may come with that.

I still think it's a little deeper. Let's look at verse 66. Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. Now Matthew adds this interesting note to this moment, but Peter followed him at a distance to the high priest courtyard and he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

That's the part that Matthew adds that Mark does not include. Peter wants to see where this is going. He's got hope. He's still hoping some way God is going to get out of this. And so this speaks well of Peter.

It puts him in a class almost entirely by himself. Well John, the apostle, he's there too, not in the courtyard, but he's there in the quarters of the high priest. We get that from John's gospel. But Peter, there's so many others that are not following Jesus into this courtyard. And so he puts himself in enemy territory, which makes me again reluctant to cast him as this coward.

Horatio Nelson, one of, if not England's, greatest admiral, said no captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy. He's looking to engage the enemy, to fulfill his purpose. Well, Peter is looking to be close to his Lord.

And for that we have to understand that that is a high thing, not a low thing. He couldn't walk away. He's not that kind of man. There was no way he could be hiding somewhere knowing his Lord was there being under arrest and that he's struggling. Judas, in contrast to Peter, distanced himself and he died distanced from Christ. Now yes, the other apostles had scattered and where they were we know not.

But they did not turn on Christ and betray him. I point it out for Peter because he's going to deny him, having disagreed with Christ. And the Lord warned him and yet here he is. He doesn't yet see it. He's too close to it all. Have you ever been in such a situation where you're just too close to it? Others can see better what's going on and you cannot.

Not a happy place. But love compels this man as love compels us to stand up to those things that are in opposition to our testimony. I am mindful of Jacob. Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord. He thought that his strength could somehow gain something for him and it did not. His strength was not enough.

And so we find Jacob calling out, I won't let you go until you bless me. There's a sob in that, is there not? Is there not a sob in the story of Peter? Are there not sobs in my own life, silent and loud?

Both. Things about me that I dislike and I don't understand. Things about me that I don't seem able to defeat. And yet there's that assurance Christ ain't going anywhere. He's staying with me. He loves me. He died for me. Christ is not finished forgiving people.

He's going to be forgiving them right up to the cross, right up to this moment. So we don't need to be judgmental. We need to be spiritual. Pay attention to the spirits leading and apply the lessons.

And at the same time, not dismiss that which is wrong. And we're not dismissing Peter. Let's look now at verse 67. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, you also were with Jesus of Nazareth. Well, many people were, men were named Jesus. And so she specifies Jesus of Nazareth.

He had become known as the Nazarene by this time. But she's one of the many irritating Bible characters to me. I mean, quite a few of them. I just don't like her.

And she might have been, you know, she might have made some really wonderful, you know, I don't know, cheesecake or something. But I just don't like what I know about her. And you'll see why. And I'm not being too harsh, hard on that.

But still, I don't like her. So here's Peter now, warming himself by the fire of the enemy. And a lesson we can't get away from when we look at this is Jesus can make fires for us if we're cold.

We do not have to be where the enemy is. But what if that's where I find myself? Passionate, devoted Peter. Fearful, without even knowing why. He's bewildered.

We know that. He's upset. The winds of turmoil have blown upon him and here he is. Emotionally, he is hobbled by the crash from the glory of the upper room to the arrest in the garden. Again, how do you put yourself in Peter's sandals having not walked personally with Jesus for three and a half years?

Very difficult, if not impossible. Mark chapter 14, there's where we read of Peter's boast. Peter said to him, even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be. John might stumble, even though he loves you. Thomas might stumble.

Andrew, my own brother, he may stumble, not Peter. And this, of course, is what he is going to pay for now. He is going to pay for that vain speech that he made. And Christ is going to let it happen. And not only is Christ going to rebuild this man, but he's going to use all of this to this present day. What about that pledge, Peter? Well, he's unstable in his head now.

He's not that same man. Things have happened. He's been confronted with things that he didn't plan for. Matthew chapter 5, Jesus warns us all. He says, let your yes be yes and your no, no. Okay, that's the sound teaching of the Bible. It is a principle of Scripture. But then he adds something very important. For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

Was that not Peter? These might forsake you. Instead of just saying, Lord, I'm not going to forsake you, he adds Peter these might, not me.

That went beyond his yes and it was of the evil one. Christ even warned him, we'll get back to this later, you're going to get sifted. Satan's going to put you in a sieve and he's going to shake you and he's going to find out what falls out and what stays on top. And then the Lord said, in a very cryptic way, you're going to fail but I'm going to rebuild you. Because he says, once you, you know, but I have prayed for you.

Well, I'm getting ahead of myself and we'll get to that in a moment, verse 68. But he denied it saying, I neither know nor understand what you are saying. And he went out on the porch and the rooster crowed. He did not want the servant girl to tell the high priest that he was there. That had to be his first thought. So he lied and played ignorant.

Lying was especially wrong up here and even to him and to us. But he hasn't had much time to think things through since the upper room and the arrest. And just think, Calvary is just hours away. It hasn't even been 16, 15 hours yet since the upper room. Things have been going at a rapid pace.

He's not had a chance to collect himself. You say, you sound like you're defending Peter. I am. Because I see me in this. I see everybody in this.

I see the flesh, the humans, the people that want to do the right thing for Jesus and mess it up. And that would be all of us at some point. Maybe not to this degree, but it's still a failure of some sort that we eventually have to taste. And so he had tried giving his life for his Lord already.

Just hours ago, if that long. But was corrected, leaving him at a loss. Matthew 26 verse 52, but Jesus said to him, put your sword in its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. He's getting a battlefield lesson. I mean, you would think that now's not the time for a sermon or a speech or a class, but Jesus takes it. He said, I'm making this a teachable moment. And it hobbled this man in his head.

It's a fact we can't dismiss. Peter is unraveling. He thinks he's going to be the coward. That's what he is going to think too. He's going to cast himself in that light. But what could he do in this bewildered state when confronted?

You were one of them. What could he do? Well, he could tell the truth.

Why doesn't he tell the truth? Again, not a chicken as we would say. It's more complex than that. I have learned in my own life and in the life of other Christians that there are problems that come into our life that are complex. They're not simple. There's not a simple, well here, take two Bible verses and call me in the morning. There's more to it.

Sometimes it's a very lengthy process of restoration and recovery from whatever traumatic experience we're faced with in our faith. Well, he tried to move away from this group so he goes out to the porch, we're told here in verse 68. Oh, that rooster, but he doesn't register yet. It registers later with him, but not at the moment.

It was a common sound. Why should it stand out? Well, because of the word of Christ. Now, verse 69.

And the servant girl saw him again and began to say to those who stood by, this is one of them. You see why I don't like her? Why is this so important?

What is it? Is she looking for the, you know, parking spot of the month, you know, the servant of the month or something? Why is it, why? Does she want points with her co-workers? See, I told you I was right.

I know what I'm talking about. I don't know. But Peter is thinking she just won't let this go. What is the big deal? All right, what if he said, I am one of the servants?

Would there have been a parade for her? Anyway, look, I don't, there's a lot of people I don't like. What's one more? It's too easy to dislike people. And that's why Christ calls us out on that. And you know it and I know it. If you are a Christian and you have ill feelings for somebody, you know the Lord is just, you know, not going, oh, it's okay.

He may be giving you space to fix it, but he is not saying it's okay. Verse 70. Although one time I heard the Lord tell me, yeah, I don't like him either. No, that never happened.

You know I can't. Verse 70. But he denied it again. And a little later, those who stood by and said to Peter, surely you are one of them for you are a Galilean and your speech shows it. Again, what is with you people?

I just want to be warm. Why can't you just leave me alone? He's cornered. And he doesn't know what to say, really, except he's in denial mode. And he's in the flesh. Here is the swordsman of Gethsemane that's now the liar of the courtyard. Just like that.

So this is where I start to learn something. The self-sufficiency that Peter was operating on, it was his self-sufficiency. It became a hiding place for his flesh. And now he is, you know, reaping what he sows. He's at the cupboard. He's drawing from the flesh because he's self-sufficient. He announced it. These might forsake you.

I am not. And Christ said, well, that's not going to work. And then he argued with Christ.

So he is, we'll see him a different man after Pentecost, though he will still struggle from time to time. If we ever feel that we are able to serve Christ in our own strength, then our own strength will be all we have. And if you want to try to enter ministry that way, you're going to fail, and you're probably going to be a problem to others, too. Ministry, what is ministry? Well, it's serving the Lord. Actually, you know, for me, the definition of ministry is Jesus Christ. That is the definition of ministry. What if you were on your church and one of the ministry heads or pastor said, hey, can you stop off at the store and get something for the church? Would you get in the flesh?

Oh, man, I'm already behind. Or would you see it as I'm serving Christ? When folks walk into the church and they find the bathrooms clean, the floors swept and the vacuum on the carpet, the tissue boxes replaced, the hand sanitizer refilled, somebody's doing that. Oh, no, we're just praying and the angels are coming in when no one's here. I mean, again, who is it that empties the vacuum cleaners?

They get full. So ministry, it is serving Jesus Christ because it is Jesus Christ. It is the body of Christ. And when we look at it that way, we say, okay, now I'm in a spiritual zone where there is spiritual warfare and I'd better not conduct business in my flesh with self-sufficiency or else I'm going to be taken out.

And this is a hard lesson about that very thing. It's the difference between Peter after Pentecost and Peter now. Yes, he's a believer, but he's still in his own strength. And God was allowing Peter, as he did with Jacob, to exhaust their natural strength to see where it got them.

It didn't get Jacob anywhere and it got Peter in trouble. I don't want to enter the pulpit in my own strength. I don't want to say, well, you know, one of my teachers taught me that you read yourself full and you enter the pulpit that way. Okay, but that's not enough.

I don't want to come here with just research. I want to come with the anointing of the Spirit. And without that, I don't want to go. Of course, we all are mindful of Moses.

Lord, if you don't go with us, if you're not going with me, I don't want to go. And God honored that with Moses. And so, to put ourselves again in Peter's sandals, we have to do a lot of work to identify with what's going on because having seen Christ do so many miracles, he probably was expecting one right now. Verse 71, then he began to curse and swear, I do not know this man of whom you speak. Can't even say his name at this point. He cannot say, I do not know Jesus Christ. I do not know Jesus of Nazareth. He cannot say that. He wouldn't have said Jesus Christ because the whole Messiah thing was still to be in progress. But he could have said I did not know Jesus of Nazareth. And yet we read he began to curse and swear. He's willing to take a curse upon himself rather than be associated with Christ. How do you make Peter look good after something like this?

We're not trying to make him look good. We're trying to stick to the facts. This is not vulgar or profane speech as we might consider it today. The Jews really didn't have curse words like we have them. They could say things that were worse, blasphemous.

They had blasphemy. This is not the language of a rabbi's pupil. And that's why he's doing this.

That's why he's saying these things. So they would say, well, Jesus is a rabbi. They all agreed to that. Whether they liked or agreed with him is a different story. But they knew he was a rabbi and no rabbi's pupil would talk like Peter was talking right here. I don't think Peter ever spoke like this ever before in his life. What was he saying?

How do we know what he was saying? Well, the word for curse there is anathemized. He's invoking curses on himself if he is lying. May God strike me dead if I know Jesus Christ. That's what he's saying.

That's how it translates into our language. And again, no rabbi student would dare make a statement unless he was telling the truth. But he's lying. It's an awful moment for Peter.

He's at his worst lesson. Spiritual war and natural strength hinders God, inflicts me, and those around me. He says, I do not know this man of whom you speak.

Again, too much to say the name. Now again, we contrast at this moment, Christ is on the inside. Courageously telling slick Caiaphas the truth. Announcing exactly who he is. I am the Messiah. Saying who he is and what he is doing and what he is at the cost of his own life.

And Peter is outside saying I don't know him. What a mess. What a mess the flesh has gotten him into. Standing up to Christ, disputing with the Lord, disagreeing with him, doubling down after he's spoken to you. Once Christ spoke to Peter, that was the word of God to Peter. And he did not accept it.

And here he is. Again, Peter would not know how to fight spiritual wars until the Spirit came upon them at Pentecost. Even before Pentecost, after he survives this and after the Lord restores him, he's still making blunders.

And Peter stands up, well, we need to, you know, cast lots to find out who's going to replace the office of Judas. And really was not in the Spirit. We'll get to that in the book of Acts when we get to the book of Acts. Had he witnessed at that moment is why he's not a coward. You don't have to be a coward to fail Jesus. The flesh can do it without cowardice. If anyone, if Christ had walked out and someone had smacked the Lord in the face in front of Peter, do you think he would have gone beast mode? I don't have any doubt it would have been an over my dead body moment. Unfortunately for Peter, this should have been an over my dead body moment too. A refusal to deny the Lord.

It was his opportunity and he doesn't take it. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Mark. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of Mark, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-17 01:43:47 / 2023-07-17 01:53:15 / 9

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