Matthew portrays Peter’s threefold regression physically and morally: first in the courtyard of the house, secondly at the gate of the house, and thirdly Peter went out weeping at his betrayal. Peter was in his own midnight in the Garden of Evil. Do any of us know what we are capable of in our midnight in the Garden of Evil?
Mt 26:69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” Mt 26:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” Mt 26:71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Mt 26:72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” Mt 26:73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Mt 26:74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. Mt 26:75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
What was Peter capable of? Most know that Peter denied Christ three times, but do you know to what extent the denial took? First he just denied it. Secondly Peter denied it with an oath. Thirdly when the oath was not sufficient to convince the accusers; Peter invoked a curse on himself, and swore to the oath knowing what that meant in the Jewish culture of that day. Pronouncing a curse upon your own self was serious business. Peter did more than just deny he sunk to a new spiritual low by swearing it with a curse. While Peter was denying Jesus, Jesus was affirming all that He said about himself. And in Peter’s weeping Jesus was affirming all He had said about Peter…all the more reason for Peter’s bitter weeping.
Three times Peter denied Jesus and therefore Jesus asked Peter to a threefold affirmation of his love for his Lord and Savior.
Jn 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jn 21:16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jn 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Jesus then restored Peter with a threefold assignment.
Feed my lambs [entrusted with only the children]
Tend my sheep [to watch over the believers]
Feed my sheep [to teach the adults]
The enemy built a charcoal fire and Peter denied over a charcoal fire:
Jn 18:18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
Jesus had made a charcoal fire and Peter was restored over a charcoal fire.
Jn 21:9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.
Peter understood the tested genuineness of faith tested by fire found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. In this context, we can see that this was a very personal verse for Peter.
1 Pe 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Why did Peter fail?
Mt 26:43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. Mt 26:44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
Peter failed to pray three times even after instructions to pray by Jesus.
Three times Peter failed to pray, three times he denied Jesus, three times Peter affirmed his love for Jesus, and a progression of three assignments was given Peter by his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Man started out in light in the Garden of Eden by three blessings, but in the midnight of his soul man is capable of much sin in the Garden of Evil.
Published on Sunday, November 16, 2014 @ 4:59 AM CDT