1998-02-05 - The Wrong Camp
The Cross Series, Part 26
Luke 22:54-59 And having arrested Him, they led Him away, and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. 55 And after they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. 56 And a certain servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight, and looking intently at him, said, "This man was with Him too." 57 But he denied it, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him." 58 And a little later, another saw him and said, "You are one of them too!" But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" 59 And after about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, "Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too."
Whenever you follow Jesus at a distance, you are asking for trouble. Peter is torn and desperate. His heart wants to be right there with Jesus. His mind knows that this is a trial for life and death, and it is probably fixed. His brash promises are lost in the clutter of the moment as he follows as close as his fears will allow him. The nights are cool and Peter is cold. He sneaks into the courtyard to try to warm himself. His heart is still drawing him against his fears. But Peter had entered the wrong camp.
John 18:16-18 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought in Peter. 17 The slave-girl therefore who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not." 18 Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
Just when he was beginning to feel a measure of comfort as John is able to get them both inside the Temple building away from prying eyes, a young girl recognizes the burley fisherman. The darkness that had protected him is driven away by the torchlight light. Peter's fears take over and he denies the association with Jesus. Inside, his heart must have sunk and despair and confusion build is the face of swords and torches.
John 18:25-27 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not." 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?" 27 Peter therefore denied it again; and immediately a cock crowed.
The Sanhedrin is grilling Jesus right now. John is may have been off trying to find out more information about what was going on with the Master. It seems that John had some sort of family privilege, his father may have been assigned to the Temple for some type of service. Peter is alone again and the group again questions Peter and he denies it again, probably more forcefully. The last time, a relative of Malicus - the man who lost an ear to Peter's sword - insists that Peter was there at the arrest.
Matt 26:73-75 And a little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Surely you too are one of them; for the way you talk gives you away." 74 Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know the man!" And immediately a cock crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, "Before a cock crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.
The force of Peter's final is a last, bitter attempt to deflect the accusation. He is so cornered that he swears and curses to add credence to a lie. On queue, as Jesus had foretold, the rooster crows. Peter must have been dumbfounded as the realization hit him. He exits as quickly as he can probably only steps ahead of the flood of sorrow that is coming.
Can we say we have never been here? Not even in our younger days as a Christian. Do we never hide a little of Who's we are? Is is a struggle against our flesh and our fears. In this country, more often fear of rejection, of being looked down on by someone in authority. In other countries, they know the same fear as Peter did. The fear of being martyred for their faith. The fear is understandable But if Jesus is our Lord, He asks us to take up our cross daily. That includes identity with Him and His love. Does Jesus understand your situation? Yes, He does. When you are ready to walk closely with Him, He will provide the courage - just as He provided that grace and mercy when you accepted His salvation. If He has to break you, as He broke Peter's pride, He will. But only because He loves you and wants a closer relationship with you.
Lord Jesus, prepare us for those moments of confrontation with the world. We ask that You provide the words to speak and the forum to glorify Your name. Help us to be in the world, but not of it. And that we constantly be an example of Your love, mercy and grace to this lost world. Grant us favor in their eyes as we follow and testify of You. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.