Lesson Four- Loyal vulnerability
Welcome back to our fourth class on Simon Peter. We have seen in the last class how Simon Peter’s temperament got him in trouble. He is quick to speak and not so quick to think. We will see today a few instances where Peter’s temperament is quite admirable. Peter was very loyal, faithful, and obedient to Christ. We will see today how this type of vulnerability is worth having but a difficult aim, as we will see in both Peter’s life and ours. Then if we have time we will look at Peter and Paul’s debacle. If we run out of time it will be homework! First open up to John 13:1-17 and we will examine the homework passage a little more closely.
Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, *got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He *came to Simon Peter. He *said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” Peter *said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.” So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? “You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.
(John 13:1-17 NASB)
In this first verse… What is this hour that is come? Who is it that Jesus loved? Yes you are right, the hour is Christ’s imminent death. Good try, Jesus DOES love His disciples, but this passage is referring to Christ’s love for ALL of the elect, everyone that he would die for upon His hour.
Many scholars31 believe that the most approved reading of the first part of verse two is γινομένου, the present participle, denoting while a supper was in progress. And Not “Supper had ended” as seen in the Received text and in KJV. It is interesting to note that washing of the feet is not a typical Jewish Passover tradition, but one specifically associated with Jesus. Do you see the similarities when we compare this passage to the passages we saw last week?
Very good. You are right. In this passage, Peter respectfully asks Jesus, “Why should you wash my feet?” – I should be washing yours!!! – In this respect Peter had thought about something before speaking. This is a little different.
And again you are right, Peter is ignorant in this passage, just like usual. But in this passage, we feel more sympathy for him, for Jesus is being somewhat mysterious about what he is saying for he knows that the disciples are just NOT getting it.
The second time Peter rejects Jesus’ request to wash his feet, Peter is less respectful, that is correct. But despite his bold rejection we see that Peter is obedient and let’s Jesus wash his feet once he hears Jesus say, “”If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Peter is quick to go from an extreme of rejection to an extreme of acceptance of loyalty.” Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” Because Peter desires to be a part of Jesus. He is faithful and obedient. Good answers!
Anyone have a question about this passage?
Is Judas’s father Simon Peter? – Great question. It is uncertain who exactly Judas’s father is. Simon Peter is not typically even considered but it a good thought. Usually Judas’s father, who is named Simon is thought to be a tanner. His surname, Iscariot, may come from “Iscortia”, which signifies a tanner’s coat.32 Thanks for that good question ____.
The meat of today’s lesson we will see Peter’s complete devotion to the Lord. Open your Bible up to Matthew 26:31-75. This is rather large, so we will break it up into three parts: 31-47, 48-56, 57-75.
_____ would you read the first section 31-47 please?
“You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.’ “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter *said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too. Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. “Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!”
Two times early in this passage, we see extravagant claims of loyalty for Jesus by Peter. Yet three times after Jesus repeatedly commands them to pray, only to caught them sleeping. Jesus knew the moment was quite important and desired his faithful friend’s prayer, yet they were unfaithful, even Peter.
This is not the first time Peter has made such claims earlier right after the foot washing passage you read for homework, Peter says this: John 13:37 Peter *said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.”
In Luke’s account the same (or a similar, maybe an addition of the) conversation we just read in Matthew, the conversation between Peter and Jesus is very intense:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!”
(Luke 22:31-33 NASB)
“Simon, Simon” – the repeating of his name is a sign of love. In this account we learn that Satan must get permission to even tempt a man. Jesus give Peter a fair warning that something bad is going to happen. Peter whole-devoted, ready-for-anything attitude says “I am ready….even for death.” This suggests he is not afraid of Satan himself. And his loyalty to the Lord is main priority.
____ will you read the next section of the Matthew passage, 48-56? Thank you.
While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. “But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.
Here is a disappointing passage. First we see Judas, who already is under Satan’s control betray Jesus, with the infamous kiss. Then we see according to Matthew’s account, “one of those who were with Jesus” slice slave’s ear off with a sword. Why in Matthew and especially Mark (assuming Peter is the source material for Mark) does it say “one of Jesus’ followers instead of Peter? I don’t know. But in John 18:10 -( Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus) – it is clearly Simon Peter? Great question!
Finally we see that Peter is weak and not as devoted as he desires to be. The passage ends, Jesus is captured and the disciples are no where to be found.
____ would you please read the last section from 57-75? Okay, your girlfriends can split that passage with you. Thanks. Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.'” The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and *said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
(Mat 26:31-75 NASB)
It is interesting to note that Peter was following “from a distance to see the outcome” but he was not willing to go all the way. Finally we see Peter’s denial of Jesus three times outside near the courtyard. Peter sins; he falls into the temptation Jesus had warned about. Peter lies. Yet we see that immediately he remembers what Jesus had said and began weeping bitterly. Peter was ashamed of his sin. His tears are of shame and repentance.
Peter loved Jesus so much. He was the most loyal of the twelve. He made extreme promises, willing even to die for Christ. In the end of his life, he did in fact die for Christ. But in this passage we see that Satan’s temptation to sin and be passive, causes Peter to faultier. He falls into the temptation and sins. He was not perfect.
Harrington suggests that there are three steps to dynamic discipleship: – revelation, recognition, and reassurance33. Peter takes these steps several times in the Gospels. He has the divine revelation that Jesus is the Christ (Mt. 16). He recognizes the Jesus is greater than he (John 13). And he is reassured of Christ’s love in John 21.
I the Matthew passage we see all three steps occur. Jesus gives Peter the revelation that Satan will tempt him. Peter recognizes that he sinned immediately after the roster crows. And Peter is reassured of Christ’s forgiveness as he wept alone.
Today in our own lives we have similar stories. We can relate to Peter. In our heart, our devotion to the Lord is great. Many of you, I know would say that Jesus is your first love, as he should be and you might even commit to death for the cause of Christ as Peter did. But when it comes down to the real life application, we fall. We sin. We mess up. Satan even tempts us to sin. The Father wants us to be strong in our temptation. We also can see the three steps of dynamic discipleship today in our lives.
We receive revelation through the Word of God and through the Holy Spirit. God holds teachers to a high responsibility to feed our flocks. We recognize the revelation is truth and we are re-assured in Christ when all is said in done. Christ still forgives us of our sin. Christ still blesses us when we do what is right in the sight of the Lord.
When have you recently felt like Peter, you where on fire and would die for Jesus? Do you still have that zeal for the Lord? Recently in your own private life, (answer this one to the Holy Spirit) have you fallen in sin? Take a minuet to let the Holy Spirit examine you life and reveal sin that stands between you and the Lord….do you need to deal with the Lord today?
After you lift up your sin, remember that there is re-assurance in the Lord…we can have the same vulnerability with the Lord that Peter has here.
The Lord wants to restore you and make things right. Accept the Lord’s forgiveness and grace today.
Okay, I know we are running out of time, let me give you your assignment for next week: Does anyone recall an account between Peter and Paul that left the two in an enigma. They had a dispute of sorts. I want you to look at it in Gal. 2.
Questions to ask yourself: What does Paul correct Peter for? What is this dispute about?
Does it matter? How important is it?