Trial & Denial

James River Church – Sermon Notes – Pastor John Lindell

John 18:12-27 – So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time. Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.” Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple (John) was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.” Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself. Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.” Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded. Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?” Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest. Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.” But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed. Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover. So Pilate, the governor, went out to them and asked, “What is your charge against this man?” (John 18:12-29 NLT)

  • Caiaphas is high priest for a year. (He should have been for a life time.
  • Annas, his father-in-law…was the power behind the priesthood…So powerful – even Rome feared him.
  • Annas was behind the “temple scam” – exchange rate extortion, and sacrificial animal scam. (They could only be declared ‘clean’ by temple priests – for a price.)
  • No one is more rebuked than Peter…No one rebukes Jesus, other than Peter.
  • Jesus knows that Peter will fail…

1. Jesus knows who will fail Him.

Luke 22:31 – “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31, 32 NLT)

  • Jesus calls him Simon, when Peter is slipping into old, bad habits.

Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” But Jesus said, “Peter, let me tell you something. Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” (Luke 22:33, 34 NLT)

  • God knows or weaknesses as well as our potential.

2. Even the Best among fail Jesus…

  • Peter was intimate with Christ and had been with Him from early days.
  • Yet, Peter still slips up.
  • This is not meant to get us down, but clue us into reality.
  • A disciple of Christ isn’t perfect. Don’t let failure rob your joy.
  • Jesus loves us in our imperfection, as we struggle to grow in our faith.
  • Peter loves Jesus
  • Peter has committed his life to following Christ.
  • Peter’s failure does not mean that Christ rejects him or is unwilling to use him in the future.

4 Things that diminish strength: and allow failure
Peter failed because

1. Peter is attacked by Satan.

  • (Luke 22:31) Satan wants to sift you like wheat.
  • Peter failed in part because he was not prepared for attack.

2. Peter was over confident.

  • Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you.” (Luke 22:33 NLT)
  • He should have been asking for help, rather than declaring his ultimate strength.
  • I Cor. 10:12 – If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12 NLT)

3. Peter was prayerless.

  • Prayer is the key to strength
  • Peter didn’t pray in the garden.

4. Peter was with the wrong crowd.

  • We have to be aware of the influence of our friends & those they surround themselves with.
  • Luke 22:54-55 – So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. (Luke 22:54, 55 NLT)
  • When we “join” and sit amongst unbelievers, we will act like them as their behavior “denies” Christ’s influence and salvation.
  • John 18:15-17 – John who is allowed in, this clues you in to his family’s status. John’s family was know by the top leaders in the country (the high priest). It clues you in to the fact that John, with his family, had been there before (the courtyard of the high priest).
  • Peter is wanting to fit in with the crowd…
  • Normally he wouldn’t be there. He has been dealt a severe blow emotionally and spiritually–He is vulnerable.
  • He does the same thing as those around the fire…He sits down. He joins them.
  • Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire warming himself, they asked him again, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it, saying, “No, I am not.” (John 18:25 NLT)
  • Luke 22:57 – But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” (Luke 22:57 NLT)
  • Culturally, he is shamed even more by responding as he did “to a mere woman.”
  • But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Didn’t I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed. (John 18:26, 27 NLT)
  • Matthew 26:74 – Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. (Matthew 26:74, 75 NLT)
  • Luke 22:61-62 – At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. (Luke 22:61, 62 NLT)
  • Peter failed Christ
  • We have all failed Christ…Don’t be smug.
  • There is no one righteous, not even one.
  • When you fail Christ, what do you do? – How do you treat conviction…
  • Peter wept bitterly
    • One can draw a parallel between Peter’s response to failure and Judas’ response/suicide.
  • Do we weep, or just walk on acknowledging our sin smugly.
  • Peter doesn’t wait to acknowledge and deal with failure…He does it immediately.

3. Jesus Fails NO ONE

2 Tim. 2:13 – If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is. (2 Timothy 2:13 NLT)

  • This is the good news of the gospel.
  • God reaches into our failure and pulls us upward and onward.
  • God loves us, and reaches out to us.
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One response to “Trial & Denial

  1. Pingback: Standing firm | Bible Aid

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