Title: Misunderstanding the Will of God
Text: John 18.10-27
Introduction: we’re in our new sermon series: The Lord’s Passion: Characters on the way to the Cross.
Today we look at Simon Peter; Actually, the High Priest and Simon Peter share stories. Cf.: 18.10, 12, 15, 19, 25. Let’s look 1st this morning at his name – so, where does the Name Simon come from? Honestly, I don’t know. But, what I do know is that there were some very popular names in that day and I think they come from the Maccabean Revolt.
- Assyria (Northern Kingdom Exile)
- Babylon (Southern Kingdom Exile)
- Persia (Medes & Persians: Return from Exile)
- Greeks (Alexander the Great)
- Alexander’s Generals: Ptolemy & Selucids until 31 AD, when Judea falls under Roman Rule. Herod is made king.
- Mattathias Maccabeus led a revolt against the Selucids in 167 BC. He died the next year and his son Judas took over as leader. Judas Maccabeus was probably the most successful and popular leader of the Maccabean Revolt. He was killed by the Selucids in 160 BC and his brother Jonathan became the new leader. Indeed, the Selucids made him a minor king to be leader of the Jews. In 152 BC he is also made High Priest. In 142 BC, Jonathan is killed and his brother Simon becomes High Priest – a strong leader among the people. The very next year, the Selucids surrender Jerusalem to Simon and Simon becomes ruler of all Judea. Because of these great revolutionaries, people would name their sons after these great leaders. Judas was popular, as we saw last week. Simon was pretty popular, too. I found 8 different Simon’s in the NT. I don’t think there are anymore, but I could be wrong. If you know of anymore, please share them with me. For now, lets go with these 8:
- Simon the Magician Acts 8
- Simon the Tanner: Acts 9 & 10
- Simon the Leper: Matt 26.6
- Simon, the Zealot: Matt 10.4
- Simon Iscariot, Judas’ Dad
- Simon, the brother of Jesus: Matt 13.55
- Simon of Cyrene: the man who carried Jesus’ Cross: Matt 27.23 – the father of Rufus
- Simon Peter: the most famous of all the Simons
Simon Peter is popular for so many reasons. His responsibilities:
1st, he is the leader. When the list of names of disciples is given, Simon Peter is always mentioned first. Jesus puts this on him – we’ll see it later
2nd, He is one of Jesus’ closest disciples. Three are pretty much mentioned together as doing more than the others: Peter, James and John.
3rd, Some say he had a foot shaped mouth because he was found often engaging his mouth while his mind was still in neutral. Can anyone here identify?
4th, At other times, he acted without thinking it fully through. Not just speaking without thinking, but sometimes acting without thinking. It appears that way. Maybe, he thought he was doing the right thing. We’ll look at one of those moments this morning.
John MacArthur describes Simon as: impetuous, impulsive, and overeager.
In our particular story this morning, Peter shows us these characteristics of being impetuous, impulsive, and overeager. Read 18.10-11; The questions we want to ask ourselves are: Why would he do this? Why would he act in such a manner? They’re obviously out matched and out numbered. Review – Q.: How many swords did the disciples have? A.: 2 (Lk 22.38); And do you remember who had them? A.: Peter had one and we think Judas had the other. Judas is now on the other side – he’s turned state’s evidence for those who want Jesus dead. There is this band of men, a mob of soldiers and leaders of men with clubs and swords, of whom Matthew describes as a great crowd following the chief priests and elders. When Lisa and I were in Hawaii in a young couples’ Bible Study, our teacher said there were 600 men in this great crowd. I have no idea where he got his information, but I suppose there were a lot of men in that great crowd.
Most of the disciples are totally unprepared. Mark describes one of these guys as being wrapped in a towel, a linen cloth. He’d probably been taking a sponge bath, as it were, while Jesus and his garden buddies, Peter, James and John had been up in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. Or shall I say while Jesus was praying and the other three were sleeping. This one young man, wrapped in this linen cloth is grabbed by some of the men in this mob. What is he going to do? Pop them with his towel? There is only one sword against so many, with swords and clubs (v 3, see weapons)! All of the Gospels tell us that Peter, in an attempt to defend his master, pulled his sword and swung at Malchus, the servant of the High Priest. I picture he’s trying to take his head off, but in the scuffle, Malchus ducks and only has his ear cut off. The mob of men grab the disciples. Jesus screams to stop. He heals Malchus, by putting his hand over his mangled, mostly hanging off ear. Jesus voluntarily goes with the mob and the disciples break free and flee. So, desperate to get away are these disciples, that Mark notes the disciple in his towel flees with nothing on, but leaves the soldier standing there holding the towel that was his garment.
Now, I ask again: Why would Peter do this? Why would he act in such a manner? Here is my best guess. Read John 13.36-38; Matthew records it like this: Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!”
Move forward to later in the evening, out across the valley; Enter Judas and his mob of soldiers and men with clubs from the Temple. They reach out to grab Jesus and maybe, just maybe, Peter is now going prove that he would indeed lay down his life for Jesus. He’ll go to prison with him and for him. He’ll willing die defending his Lord and Master. Oh yeah, you want to take my Jesus! I’ll show you by cutting off your head! Some believe as many as 600 men may have been in this mob. Now you have 11 disciples, most in their pajamas and bathrobes and flip-flops. It’s like these men have clubs and swords and the disciples are holding their toothbrushes!
Have you ever been so inspired to take on Satan? So inspired, that you’d storm the gates of hell with squirt guns and water pistols? We may die tonight, but you’re not taking my Jesus!
App.: Here’s my 1st take-a-way for the day: Sometimes we forget – Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him! That’s why we don’t act like Muslim extremists and kill people who don’t follow him. We trust that God is in control of even a bad situation.
Application: I can’t promise you that you won’t die for Christ. But look at what Jesus is asking of Peter; Luke tells the story like this: rd Lk 22.31: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” In our text today (Jn 13), Jesus asks Peter: “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. Not only is Jesus showing us his sovereignty, but he’s telling Peter that his job isn’t to die for Christ, but rather to live for him.
I think Peter draws his sword because he wants to demonstrate to Jesus that he will live up to or should I say die for Jesus. I wonder if Jesus is really calling Peter to do something harder than die for Jesus – rather, it’s harder to live for Jesus.
From the beginning, Jesus saw something in Peter – a diamond in the rough, as it were. One time, they were together and Jesus asked the men: Who do people say that the Son of man is? Matthew 16.13-18; then Jesus said, Simon you were, but from now on, I see someone else in you, I see a Rock – and so that’s what I’m going to call you.
Ill.: John MacArthur tells the story of a pitcher who had all the signs of becoming one of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game. The problem was, that he would get up there on the mound and just melt under the pressure. He was just too nice and kind all of the time. His manager, Tommy Lasorda, thought the best idea would be to give him a nickname that he could live up to: Bulldog. This young pitcher began to embrace his nickname and began living up to it. He remained kind and good and gentle off of the mound, but when he stepped up onto the pitcher’s mound, he would be transformed into a ruthless Bulldog. The young pitcher’s name: Orel Hershiser.
Most baseball fans know who Orel Hershiser is. Even most sports fans know who he is because he did become one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen.
Application: I think that’s what Jesus did here. Sometimes he still acted like Simon, the old man. But, more and more he takes on the characteristic of Rocky. Luke tells us in 22.31 that Jesus said: “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. Satan wants to eat you for lunch, but, you’re going to be ok. More than that, when you’ve returned – you’ll lead your brothers. You’ll be a rock for them!
I think he wants to be that leader. I think he wants to live up to the name Jesus is calling him: Rocky! Indeed, he shows us great signs of being a leader in his statements.
– His statements
- Lord, bid me to come out to you (on the water) – faith; this isn’t something kings do!
- Explain the parable to us – teachable – wanting to learn.
- Is this parable for us or for everyone? Application for his own life.
- You are the Christ, the son of the living God! That’s incredible!
- When all the people deserted him, the disciples stayed. Jesus asked if they were going to leave also and Peter responded: Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.
- Don’t talk like that Jesus – it’s so negative. You’re letting the men down. Jn 16.22 – This takes some gall! Who would ever dare to tell Jesus what to do? Oh, I guess I have a few times. L
- He speaks up even when he’s supposed to be quiet (i.e.: on the Mt of Transfiguration; That is, until The Father shows up). Mt 17.4-6 – I picture this incredible scene – Peter speaks and they all turn and look at him. The angels stop singing, the music stops playing, silence. Then they turn and begin talking to each other again and the music stars back up.
- He asks: How many times should I forgive my brother? Seven? He wants to be complete – perfect in his actions. I don’t think he’s giving lip service to the Lord.
- Though they all fall away, I never will. I’m ready to die for you. commitment
- Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. This shows us his heart, his passion
- And when Jesus insisted that he wash Simon Peter’s feet: Lord, not my feet only, but my head and my hands as well.
- Jesus said: who touched me? Peter answered: “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” He’s so practical;
- In Jn 21: I’m going fishing!
- His statements here – his denial; rd v 15ff; 25ff
- (Woman), I am not
- (Man), I am not
- Again, a 3rd time he denied it. ; Mark records a little more detail: But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” Luke adds this one more bit of information: And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
app.: I’ve been in a place where I was ashamed of my actions before the Lord, denying him with my words and lifestyle. But, I’ve always wondered what it was like for Peter as he invoked a curse upon himself, swearing aloud that he didn’t know Jesus and before he finishes his statement, the rooster crows. He looks at Jesus and his Master raises his head and their eyes meet.
Conclusion: he broke the glass, opened the door and jumped in. He took his screw driver and jimmied the lock, breaking the steering column and starting the car, just as his older brother had taught him. That’s when he heard the sirens and saw the flashing blue lights. I’ve got to get out of here. He stepped on the gas and did his best to speed away. His problem was that because he was 12 years old, his feet barely touched the pedals.
He knew if he got caught, he would be headed to Juvie – not only that, his momma would kill him. He turned down a lonely street, thinking he’d be able to dodge the police. Jus then, a car backed out into the street, blocking his path. He hit the breaks, but was going to fast. He hit her car and glass sprayed everywhere. He could see she was an old lady. He jumped out of the car and took off running, but he couldn’t help but wonder if she was hurt. He paused and then he decided it was worth checking on her. He knew right from wrong and though all that he had been doing was wrong – leaving an injured, old woman was too much to take. So, he returned to her car. He asked if she was all right. She told him to go sit on her porch. The police pulled up and asked her about the stolen car. She said a man had run into her and fled on foot. They inquired of the young boy sitting on her porch and she told them that he was her grandson.
The little boy probably could have outrun the police on foot. He was fast. His nickname was Quickie. He got that name because he was the fastest kid around. He thought of running from her as she approached, but listened to her as she told him to go into the kitchen and sit at the table. She came in and told him: Son, you’re better than this. She didn’t really even know him. He responded: It’s the only way to survive in this neighborhood. She retorted: It’s no way to get out of this neighborhood. Quickie knew he’d done wrong and promised to return to her home and work around the house, paying off the damage he’d done. He kept his word.
Her name was Mrs. Johnson and she would have a tremendous impact on changing the direction of this boy’s life. Indeed, she played a huge part in him committing his life to Christ. He listened to his conscience when it told him to return and check on her. She became a grandmother to him and watched him grow into a fine young man. You probably know who I’m talking about. Quickie would grow up to become a fine athlete. A 4-sport star in the state of Texas. He went to college on a football scholarship and ran track, too. The Long Jump, the high jump: he jumped 7’6” in college. In fact, he probably could have made the U.S. Olympic team if he hadn’t been so successful at football. His name is Donald Driver and he’s probably the best receiver the Green Bay packers have ever had. At least his team records declare him to be so. Donald Driver was Bret Favre and Aaron Rodger’s target for 14 seasons.
Mrs. Johnson saw a diamond in the rough in a 12 year old boy. Then, she invested her life in taking this piece of coal to becoming a diamond. Diamonds are formed from carbon when the temperature is just right, and the tremendous pressure they’re under is just right. The environment has to be perfect. That’s what her life was to Quickie: perfect timing and the right environment. You might say she applied the right heat and the right pressure!
Application: Here’s what I want you to take home with you today – as you look at Donald Driver (aka: Quickie), as you look at Simon Peter, as you look at yourself.
- Your past doesn’t have to determine your future. In Jn 21, Peter is restored and forgiven. He would become a pillar and the main leader of the early church at it’s inception. He would eventually die for Jesus, but not like he had thought – not with a sword in his hand.
- I think sometimes we still feel like we have to defend Jesus – that we need to storm Washington with our guns and a militia. But I don’t think Christ is calling most of us to die for him, I think he’s calling most of us to die to ourselves and live for him. That’s probably harder to do anyway.
- I want you to see that the pressures of life and the heat we endure are making us into men and women of God. These trials and storms of life are being used by God to conform us more and more to the image of His Son.