I. "AND SIMON PETER FOLLOWED JESUS AND SO DID ANOTHER DISCIPLE."
A. Who was the other disciple?
1. Traditionally it was thought to be John.
a. He knew the name of the servant of the high priest whose ear was cut off by Peter.
b. He usually did not refer to himself by name.
2. Unlikely that he would know the high priest since he was just a fisherman from Galilee.
a. When John has referred to himself in the five other passages in his gospel it was always as the disciple whom Jesus loved.
b. Maybe it was Nicodemus, or Joseph of Arimathaea.
c. Both of them would be known to the high priest, and would both have entry into the palace of the high priest.
B. The other gospels inform us that Peter followed afar off, or from a distance.
1. Peter has gotten a lot of criticism for his flaws and denial. Yet let us give him credit, he was close by his Lord, whereas all of the others had forsaken Him and fled.
2. His heart and mind were no doubt very confused at this point.
3. He still had the grand view of the Messiah.
4. To see the mistreatment of Jesus must have been very disconcerting to him.
C. We are told that Peter was standing outside of the door.
1. Then that other disciple that was known to the high priest went to the girl that kept the door and ordered her to let Peter come in.
2. Again this would signify that he had some prominence around the official circles. Remember that Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews.
D. Perhaps as he was entering the room, this girl that kept the door, just a servant girl, said to Peter, "Are you not one of this man's disciples?" And Peter answered, "I am not."
1. It is amazing to me that we are so often ready for the big trials. We will swing with our swords and give our lives to defend Jesus, yet when questioned by a servant girl, stumble and deny the Lord.
2. It is often when flushed with victory that the enemy attacks in the most subtle ways.
3. Let a man take heed when he thinks that he stands lest he fall. ICOR 10:12
E. The servants and officers had made a fire of coals, for it was cold, and Peter stood with them and warmed himself.
1. I think that there is a lesson for us here, against seeking to warm ourselves by the enemy's fire.
2. With many, when the love for Jesus begins to wax cold, they return to the enemy's fires to try to find warmth.
a. They may go out to a night club to try to warm their soul.
b. They might go sit in a bar to find solace, or perhaps companionship.
c. You are in a dangerous spiritual state when you seek to find warmth at the enemy's fires.
II. VERSE 25 PICKS UP THE STORY AGAIN OF PETER WARMING HIMSELF AT THEIR FIRE. "AND SIMON PETER STOOD AND WARMED HIMSELF."
A. They said to him, "Are you not also one of His disciples?" He denied it and said, "I am not."
1. The other gospels tell us that this second accusation came from another maid. But again Peter denied it.
B. Then one of the servants of the high priest who was a relative of the servant, whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?"
1. At this point the crowd got into it, and began to say, "You must be one of His disciples, for you are a Galilean and your accent gives you away."
2. It was at this point that Peter began to swear and curse declaring that he did not know Him.
3. Upon this third denial, the rooster began to crow and Peter remembered the words of Jesus, "Before the rooster crows, you will have denied Me three times."
4. Luke tells us that the Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter went out and wept bitterly.
a. Have you ever wept over your failure?
b. Have you ever wept because of the weakness of your flesh?
III. LET US OBSERVE THE PATH THAT LED TO THE DENIAL.
A. First Peter was guilty of boasting, he was self-confident.
1. When Jesus had announced to the disciples that all of them would be offended that night because of Him, Peter answered, "Lord, though they may be offended, I would never be offended."
2. It was then that Jesus predicted that before the rooster crowed, Peter would have denied Him three times.
3. Again Peter expressed his self-confidence declaring, "Even if they would slay me, I would never deny you."
4. Again, take heed when you think you stand, lest you fall.
5. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
B. Next he found himself arguing with the Lord.
1. Jesus had told him that before the rooster ever crowed, Peter would have denied Him three times.
2. Peter contradicted the Lord and declared, "If they would kill me I would never deny you."
3. This points out the fact that the Lord knows you better than you know yourself. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?"
4. Also it shows that if you find yourself arguing with the Lord, you are wrong.
C. Then we find him sleeping instead of praying.
1. When Jesus came back to the disciples and found them fast asleep, He said, "Simon, sleepest thou? Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation, for the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak."
2. How many times the lack of prayer has gotten us into trouble.
D. Next, we find him trying to follow the Lord afar off.
1. There is only one way to follow Jesus and that is just as closely as you can.
2. I feel that trying to follow afar off is a sign of denial in itself.
E. Next, we find him warming himself by the enemy's fire.
1. These are all the steps that led to the denial.
2. The minute you think that you are better than others, you are in real trouble.
3. When you start arguing with the Lord, with the scriptures, you are on the way to falling.
4. When you seek to follow the Lord afar off, trouble is very near.
5. When you can find warmth from the enemy's fire, you have drifted dangerously far.
F. The next thing you will find yourself saying, "I don't know Him."
G. We can deny our Lord by our actions as well as our words.
H. It is interesting to me that when Jesus restored Peter and recommissioned him, He gave him three opportunities to affirm His love for Jesus. I do not hear Jesus saying, "Peter, you have disqualified yourself forever from ever being an elder in the church, for you are not above reproach. The qualification to the place of serving the Lord by feeding and tending the sheep was love. "Do you love Me?" There are those who would see Peter as totally and forever disqualified from ever ministering again because of his denial and blaspheming. I am glad that Jesus was more gracious than they.