The Sifting of Peter!!!
Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly……. Matthew 26:69-75 (Luke 22:54-62).
In our previous Study, We begin to see the Devil sifting Peter by allowing Him to Sleep when He should be praying. We also saw Him attacking those who came to arrest Jesus trusting in the Power of His sword instead of Prayers. Here, we shall see How the Devil Finally sifted Peter in denying Jesus and His attitude when He was convicted.
Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” : Here we see Peter sitting outside the courtyard with the the servants of the High priest warming Himself with the Fire that was burning(Luke 22:56). Not knowing that He was being watched by a servant girl. There is someone somewhere who is watching every step you take and every association you join. It seems to me that no one noticed Peter but this Servant girl. She waited patiently for Peter to sit and enjoy the company of the Fire. Even when other believers are not aware of the Distance you have kept with the Lord, the Devil is definitely aware of it. The Devil is called the Accuser of the Brethren, He keeps a record of all the wrong we have committed. He watches every steps we take and waits until He can accuse us and lay a charge against us. Do you do any wrong even in secret, the Devil is watching!!! Are you beginning to enjoy the company of the Wicked? The Devil is watching!!! The Servant girl approached Him and said, ” You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” We are all scared for our lives, and Peter was also scared of his. And He completely forgot the matter of being faithful to Christ. This is the reality of what Jesus had earlier told Him that, ” The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” When Peter testified boldly to Jesus that,” Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.”, He was Sincere, He really believed it with all His Heart and he really desired to stand true to the Lord. His Spirit was Willing. But what Peter did not realize was that “The Flesh is weak”. He wanted to be like Queen Esther who said, “If I perish, I perish(Esther 4:16), but He has forgotten that Esther fasted and prayed for three days and nights before She could say that. This is what we don’t understand either. Our Spirit is willing to Pray but the Flesh is weak. Our Spirit is willing to read the Bible but the Flesh is weak, our Spirit is Willing to sacrifice and deny ourselves for the Lord but the Flesh is weak. This is why we need the Holy Spirit Power to strengthen us. This is why we need to seek God to fill us with the Holy Spirit so that we might have strength to stand True to our convictions, so that what the Spirit is willing for will be manifested in our flesh. We cannot judge Peter because He did not have the gift of the Holy Spirit. He was still under the Old Covenant. And if you are under the old Covenant, you don’t have that strength and Power to stand true to the Lord.
And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”: One temptation leads to another. Even if you have Fallen once, expect another attempt. Although Peter stood up and was walking to the gateway, yet it seems to me that He was still chilling around the area for about an hour(Luke 22:59). The only way to stop the vicious circle of Sin is to break off completely from that thing that causes you to Sin. Jesus says, ” If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you(Matt 5:29)” Run away from the place of Temptations. Don’t think you can withstand the next punch from the Devil. If you begin to fall into the Sin of immorality, no matter how much you weep and cry for the first fall, if you don’t Rise up and break away completely from the person that cause you to Sin. I can guarantee You, you will fall again and again. Sin comes not only once, but it seeks to enslave and makes you an addict. The More You Sin, the More You want to Sin. If only Peter had left their fire and their compound entirely, it would never have happened again. But He thought He was Strong enough. It is interesting to note that this time, Peter denied with an oath, saying “I don’t know this Man” Indeed the Way of Sin is downward!!! The first time, there was no Oath in His denial but now He puts an Oath. He said, “I swear to the Almighty God, ‘I don’t know this Man!!!'” Who would have expect such a Big Lie from a Man that got Revelation from God the Father about Jesus. He was the one that said concerning Jesus that, ” You are the Christ, the Son of the living God(Matt 16:16)”. He was at the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and He heard the Father say, ” This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!(Matt 17:5)” He had walked on Water with Jesus, He had Miraculously gotten Money from the fish Mouth. How come He now says, “I do not know this Man”?
This is exactly what everyone of Us can do if we do not receive Grace from God in time of Temptations. If not for the Grace of God, we are the Most unreliable and unpredictable persons on Earth. Once we begin to trust and boast in our Human energy and strength, it would definitely lead to a fall. Once we begin to have Fellowship with the wicked and enjoy their company, even a simple question from a small Servant girl is enough to make the greatest Saint give up his convictions about Christ. Once the Devil is able to cut you off from the source of Life, very soon you will wither away. It is good to recognize what Jesus said in John 15:5-6 ” for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered”
And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” : Yet another blow from the Devil. He Devil is never tired. Just in a little while, Peter was tempted again!!! This is so true about what we also face. And this time, He went further down into Sin. This time, he began to curse and swear!!! Can you imagine!!! Could this be Peter that had boasted greatly!!! If only he had recognized his weakness when He fell in the first and second temptation, He would not have gone this deep. But just like we all are so self confident, Peter was also like that. Think of how many times you have Fallen again and again into the same sin and Yet you have not run to God in place of prayer to ask Him for strength. Instead you still chill around that sinful group and habit thinking that you will overcome next time. Be wise!!!
Consider this wonderful comment that they made about Peter’s Speech!!! They said, “Your Speech betrays You”. Peter’s Speech shows that He has been with the Lord. From the Way He spoke, it was evident that He knew Jesus!!! Lord I want to be like this!!! Lord, I want to be such a wholehearted Christian that the way I talk shows that I am a Disciple of the Lord. When people hear us talk, immediately they must sense that we are believers and Disciples of Jesus. We must live our lives and have cleansed our lips in such a way that even without quoting the Bible or speaking about Jesus, those who hear our ordinary conversation must perceive that we are Disciples of the Lord. Let me share a Personal testimony here. I remember Two different occasions, I was sitting in front of an interview panel and from the way I answered their Questions, they were like, “Sorry, are You a Pastor?” I believe this should be true in our lives, that our Speech must be full of Grace and salt that those who hear us cannot but recognise that We have been with Jesus.
Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”: It is amazing what God can use to bring convictions to the Heart of a Sinner. It was through the crowing of a cock that the Lord reminded Peter of His words. God can use simple things and make us remember Promises we have made that we have broken. God can use anything to remind us of where we have gone wrong. Even when there are no Preachers around us, God can Speak through Animals. He once used a Donkey to correct Balaam, He used a Fish to correct Jonah and here He used a Rooster to correct Peter. Peter Remembered what Jesus had said. It is good for us if we remember what the word of God had said each time we Sin.
So he went out and wept bitterly: Thank God He went out!!! It could have been worse than this. He would have continued in denial up to seven times, but He went out. He broke away from the environment and people that cause Him to Sin. You want to be free from falling again and again into Sin? Then do what Peter did. Break away and go out from among those who cause you to Sin. He wept Bitterly!!! He felt like a failure even to the other Disciples he was supposed to strengthen. This is the beginning of Peter’s restoration. And when we learn to weep Bitterly over our Failures and Sin, then we have began to rise up to the ministry that God has for us. Peter could now be a Leader having known weakness and Failures. He would be able to sympathize with others that are weak and failed in their Lives also. If he had only assumed leadership from all the experiences of His revelation about Christ or walking on water, He would have been so arrogant and hard on people. He would never have been a good Shepherd. Though it was painful, God turned it around for Good because Peter repented and recognise His Failures. The Devil meant it for evil to destroy Peter’s life but God used it to further His purpose in Peter’s life. No matter what terrible Sins you have committed, if you are willing to get out of the trap of the Devil in Repentance. The Lord will turn His face to You as He looked at Peter. And I believe that when He looked at Peter, He was saying to him, “I am praying for you Peter, return to Me. Strengthen your Brethren. I need You Peter. Even though You fall, don’t lose your Faith in my Love. Return to Me(Luke 22:32)” His eyes caught up with Peter and that brought Him back on his knees. The Lord will never give up on you unless you persist to walk in disobedience.
Dear Friend, Have You failed the Lord Like Peter? Have you denied the Lord in your actions and Speech. Have you denied Him openly and said, “I do not know Him, away with Him”. If you repent and acknowledge Your Failures before Him, He can use you mightily to bless your generation as He used Peter. Go and check all the Histories of Men whom the Lord used, they were men who had failed the Lord one time or the other in their lives. Repent and weep Bitterly for your Failures and Sin, come back to the Lord because He needs you to strengthen other people who have failed. A great Ministry can flow through your life to others that have failed the Lord also. God is Looking for Men who have failed to show forth how compassionate and Merciful He is. God needs Men and not Angels!!! May the Lord give us Grace to Learn from the Failures and restoration of Peter lest we think we have committed so big a Sin that the Lord cannot forgive Us(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus.