It has been said, He that thinks he leads and has no one following him only takes a walk.
I hope that you can follow today because I would like you to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. We will be following this person through the Gospel of John.
I would like you to become for a little while Jesus’ disciple Simon Peter.
To hopefully see some things through his heart and mind as Jesus transformed him. So if you are ready, you are Simon. Let’s begin our walk.
Do you remember when you first met Jesus and He changed your name?
40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus.
41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ).
42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas" (which, when translated, is Peter).
Which, when translated means ‘a rock’.
Did you wonder why He gave you that new name? Could it be that being with Jesus is going to change your life?
And do you remember the great falling away of Jesus’ disciples and what you said to Jesus?
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 "You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
How did it feel to say openly before people that Jesus is the Christ?
Do you remember that last night before Jesus died when He bent over in front of you to wash your feet and you wanted all of you to be clean and not just your feet.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
7 Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 8 "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me."
9 "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!"
How did it feel to be served by the Son of God?
And remember that same night you wanted to know who would betray Jesus:
24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask him which one he means."
25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, "Lord, who is it?"
26 Jesus answered, "It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish." Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.
27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.
Were you worried that you could have been the one who would betray Jesus?
And I know you recall that same night when Jesus said that you would disown Him.
36 Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later."
37 Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you."
38 Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
You resolved with all your heart and being that you would show Jesus He was wrong.
There was no way you would ever disown the Son of God. And later that night when Jesus told you and the other ten disciples that all of you would desert Him:
"But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
You resolved even more deeply that even if all the other disciples left Jesus you would not.
You would be faithful to Him even if you had to die. And I know Jesus hurt your heart:
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."
16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."
17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."
Isn’t it interesting that Peter denied knowing Jesus three times and Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. What is also interesting is that Jesus used a different word for love when Jesus asked Peter the first two times if he loved Him.
The NIV transtlates it the first two times as “truly love”.
The King James translates both words for love as ‘lovest’ all three times.
The meaning of the love that Jesus asked of Peter the first two times refers to:
“a love in which the entire personality, including the will is involved”
The other word used for love in Jesus’ third question to Peter and in all of Peter’s answers to Jesus refers to:
“a spontaneous natural affection or fondness in which emotion plays a more prominent roll than will”
I wonder why Jesus made that distinction in His Word to you.
But the most important matter to Jesus and to you is that Jesus is saying “Do you really love me?”
So what happened that night when Jesus was arrested?
Well, you were deeply determined with all your heart not to disown Him or leave Him.
Then the mob came for Jesus. There were so many of them and they were armed.
Jesus had just told the mob to let you and the other disciples go free.
Nobody was doing anything to help Jesus. You had to do something now.
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear.
11 Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
Your heart was crushed and confused.
Couldn’t Jesus see that you were showing Him that you were ready to die for Him, that you were not going to disown Him or desert Him? But Jesus didn’t want your help.
You were stunned and feeling helpless as the mob arrested Jesus and took Him away.
Nine of the disciples ran away. Only you and John remained. What should you do?
John is going to follow the mob to find out what happens to Jesus. You make the decision to go with him. When you get to the high priest Annas’ courtyard, they let John in because they know him, but you have to stay outside.
Then comes something you’re not expecting. John comes back and asks the doorkeeper to let you come in also. But as you enter you are asked:
"You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, "I am not."
God help you. You just denied being Jesus’ disciple, but you refuse to run away.
You are scared and cold and you don’t know what to do to help Jesus.
Then Jesus is taken away to Caiaphas, but before you can leave two more stinging questions come:
25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not."
26 One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you with him in the olive grove?"
27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
Jesus is gone. You are surrounded by Jesus’ enemies and you know they will want to take your life. You think that the only possible escape is for them to believe that you don’t know Jesus.
In quick sucession you have lied twice more about being Jesus’ disciple and walk away.
Amazingly they don’t try to stop you.
Then you remember the words that Jesus spoke to you, “before the rooster crows you will disown me three times”.
The other three Gospels tell us that you went out and wept bitterly.
You realize that Jesus was right; you have disowned the Son of God. How can God ever forgive you?
Didn’t Jesus say, “if you disown me before men, I will disown you before my Father”?
All the Gospels are silent about Peter from this time until three days later when Jesus was resurrected.
It must have been an extremely painful and agonizing three days for you.
And when you saw Jesus alive again, what did you say to Him? What could you say to Him?
Scripture tells us that you saw Jesus two times with the other disciples before that day on the beach when Jesus asked you three times if you loved Him.
When we realize that Jesus forgave Peter, one of His closest disciples after he denied Him three times before men then there is hope for us.
How many times have we denied knowing Jesus by our words, our actions, and our thoughts?
How many times have we failed Jesus?
Like Peter we can not be faithful to Jesus in our own strength. Only in the strength of His Holy Spirit can we remain faithful.
And how can we abide in His Holy Spirit unless we spend quality time with Jesus everyday
in reading His Word, in prayer, and in fasting.
So let us plead with our Savior for that Spirit of faithfulness, obedience and humility and trust His promise that He will never leave us or forsake us if we are truly yielded to Him
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
6 So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
How is your walk today Simon with Jesus?
My prayer is that this walk makes a difference for you in your walk with the Lord