Open as PDF
"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." John 18:25
For our own sakes, we should mark the steps which led to Peter's fall.
1. One was his self-confidence. When forewarned, he resented the Master's foretelling, and declared that though others might deny Christ — he never would. When we grow boastful — we are in great peril. Safety lies in a consciousness of our own weakness — and in implicit trust in God.
2. The next step toward Peter's fall was his sleeping in the garden — when he should have been watching and praying. That hour was given for preparation for temptation — but was not improved.
3. Another step was his rashness in drawing his sword in the garden. This act made him liable to arrest, and this fact made him nervous and afraid of recognition. He tried to hide his connection with Jesus, lest he would be arrested for his assault in the garden. Rash acts are sure to make trouble for us afterward.
4. Another step toward denial was Peter's following Christ afar off. This showed timidity and failing faith. His courage was leaving him. Following Christ at a distance, is always perilous. It shows a weakening attachment and a trembling loyalty. It is in itself, partial denial. The only worthy and the only safe discipleship — is thorough, unwavering devotion and whole-hearted consecration.
5. This apostle took another step toward his fall, when he sat down among the servants of the high priest. He tried to hide his relation to Jesus. The only safe thing for a Christian, is unequivocally to declare his discipleship wherever he goes.
When Peter had taken these steps, he could scarcely do otherwise than openly deny his Lord. The time for us to guard ourselves — is at the beginnings of defection.