Sermon delivered August 10, 1996

by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road SDA Church, McDonald, TN


Peter was scared to death. Jesus had just been kissed by Judas and arrested. Quick Peter had tried to save Jesus with his sword. He swung to kill but only an ear fell off. Jesus reattached the right ear of the assistant pastor of the temple church. Poor Peter, his hands were more ready than his heart.

As the small army took Jesus away into the darkness of that awful night, Peter knew he would be next. It was just a matter of time. Disciples were disappearing into the shadows of the dark woods faster than black crows surprised out of a corn patch. Even Peter and John fled for the safety of the darkness.

Peter remembered Jesus' last words of warning: "All who draw the sword will die by the sword!"- Matthew 26:52. Jesus was saying that Peter would be killed. "I drew the sword. I am going to be beheaded. I am next!" Peter was scared.

Yet Peter loved Jesus. To follow the mob would mean death if he were discovered. To flee now would be desertion at the very time Jesus needed someone the most. After a few moments Peter and John (DA710) decided to follow the mob at a distance to see what was about to happen to Jesus. Peter wanted to be faithful. After all He had promised Jesus he would never desert Him: MARK 14:27- Jesus said: "You will all fall away, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.'"

29- Peter declared, "Even if all fall away I will not."

30- "I tell you the truth, today yes tonight before the rooster crows twice, you yourself will disown me three times."

31- But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you I will never disown you...."

Peter must follow the mob. He had promised Jesus.

JOHN 18:15-- Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, the site of the pre-trial.

The home of the high priest was built like a hollow square. All rooms opened into the courtyard. The outside door led straight into this court yard.

John 18:16- "But Peter had to wait outside at the door...." Waiting! Do you enjoy waiting? Obviously the door was shut. This small detail here in the Bible is very significant! Think about this: Could it be God's will that the door was locked? Peter was safe on the outside. Had God in His mercy put a barrier between Peter and the environment, which if he went into it, would lead him to sin?

When you find a solid obstacle in your path, you must pause and ask if the hand of God could have placed it there. The locked door could have been for Peter's benefit.

But Peter wanted in. He disregarded the shut door and knocked for entrance. The girl in charge kept it shut. But Peter wanted in. After all, John was inside, I should be inside too.

Peter waited and finally, John came back and John persuaded the girl to let Peter in. Then John went back to the assembly but Peter stayed in the courtyard.

Let's talk about Peter the Chicken. Afraid. Once inside Peter pretended to be a bystander. He was a Christian in secret. A hypocrite. As he stood there, the Bible says that Peter was cold! The Christian who follows Jesus afar off will soon grow cold spiritually. Peter was a cold chicken. It was the coldest part of the night, just before the dawn.

Peter must have left his sword and its scabbard in some remote hidden place. To wear it into the courtyard at this time would be to ask for trouble. As he inched his way over to the fire to get warm, the light of the flames flickered on his face.

MARK 14:66- One of the servant girls of the high priest came by. (The one who kept the door?)

67- When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus." she said.

Suddenly all eyes came around and focused on Peter.

68- He denied it. "I don't know what you are talking about..." Immediately the cock crowed-(DA711)

PETER LIED. He was afraid to stand up for Jesus. He pretended to act like one of the mob of vigilantes. Peter stood "With Them" -John 18:18. Stood among the crowd of Jesus' enemies. He listened to their blasphemous talk about the Master. He did not speak up for Jesus. Peter sought to hide his light under a bushel.

We must avoid the company of the ungodly. You youth, be very careful with whom you associate. Pick good company. Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. John was not questioned because he did not try to hide his identity.

Peter lied the second time, "WOMAN, I DO NOT KNOW HIM." How true It was that Peter did not KNOW Jesus. Peter was chicken. A coward. This is hard to imagine.

If any of the other 11 disciples, who really knew Peter, had been surveyed and asked: "If Peter ever fails where do you think his weakness is?" None of them would have said he would fail through cowardice. He is no sissy. None would say Peter would Chicken out. But he did! Do you see the danger here? We do not know our own weakness!

The Rooster tried to wake up Peter. Roosters are good at that. But Peter was in deep spiritual sleep. Jesus was on trial in the house and Peter was on trial in the courtyard. Yet Peter's whole trial was over before he even knew he was being tried.

Again a third time Peter was standing by the fire. One of the relatives of Malchus whose ear was cut off spotted Peter. "I saw you when we arrested Jesus. You are indeed His disciple."

MARK 14:70- ".....After a little while those standing near said to Peter, Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." 71----- "(Peter) began to call down curses on himself, and he SWORE to them, I don't know this man your are talking about." Peter flew into a rage. He let the curse words fly. When his tirade ended all was quiet there in that cold predawn moment.

The silence was broken by the Rooster.

MARK 14:72- "Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: Before the rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times."

DA713- "While the crowing of the cock was still ringing in his ears, the Saviour turned from the frowning judges and looked full upon His poor disciple." It was not a look of anger but of gentle sorrow and pity and love. Jesus did not condemn but Jesus look said, "I still love you. I will forgive you."

The Bible says, Vs 72- "He broke down and wept."

Friend, if you have failed Jesus, do not feel forsaken or lost. Jesus still loves you. Jesus will still be your Saviour. Confess your sins. Weep. Ask Jesus for a new heart. Remember Jesus loves you even while you are denying Him. He loves you today just like He loved Poor Peter.

No man has been so condemned by preachers as Peter in his denial of Jesus. But Peter was not totally evil. Think about it: except for John--

But, alas! Peter DID deny Jesus. Peter chickened out. But there was another chicken Jesus could depend on. That faithful Rooster! (Actually not a chicken but a male fowl). Think about that Rooster.

The Rooster was more faithful than Peter. Even in Noah's flood more animals were saved than people. They obeyed God. This Rooster performed his task. Right on time. And he probably came from a long distance to be on duty; because NO Roosters were allowed in the Holy City. According to Jewish law it was illegal to have any "Cocks or Hens because they defiled the holy things". Yet here he was!

    A Rooster:
  1. He rises early to do his God-given task: crowing!
  2. He does not refuse to crow because he cannot sing like the canary.
  3. He awakes sleepers... An Unpopular message!
  4. He does that for which he is not praised: no one ever said, "Did you hear the charming voice of that rooster?"
  5. He is dependable. Rain, shine, cold, dark.
  6. He never complains about a common task or seeks recognition or fame.

Compare Peter's faltering failing faith to the dependable faithful rooster!

    WHY did Peter fail? Only hours before he had partaken of the Lord's Supper and the foot washing. Yet he fell! Why did he fall?
  1. Peter fell because of PRAYERLESSNESS! Instead of sleeping when Jesus was praying, back there in Gethsemanie, Peter also should have spent time with God. Had Peter prayed there he would not have fallen. -DA714
  2. Peter fell because of bad COMPANIONS. He placed himself on the enemies ground. The door had been shut. He should not have entered. But Jesus knew he would.
  3. Peter fell because he Disguised his faith. In doing so He denied His Lord. Stand for what you believe. God will stand behind you. Don't hide your light under a bushel. He was acting a lie.

Peter wept. A tide of memories rushed over him. He rushed heartbroken from the judgment grounds. He ran through the darkness. Finally he found himself back in Gethsemane. He located the very spot where Jesus had poured out His soul in agony to His Father, where Jesus had sweat drops of Blood, and there Peter fell on his face..." DA713.

I feel that right there is where Peter began to be a new person. Peter grew and became one of the strongest supporters of Christ this world has ever known.

Every time Peter told his conversion story Peter could say: Here is the way Jesus can forgive. He forgave me when I failed Him in His bitterest time of need. This is also what my Jesus can do for you!

No longer was Peter a Chicken. He became brave for Jesus. Peter joined that Rooster in proclaiming the message.

Peter fell hard that day. But by God's grace he rose up. That same, kind, hand that saved Peter from drowning out there on the waters of the sea was once more stretched out to raise him when he fell in the darkness of the courtyard. Jesus saves even cold, lost chickens and He transforms them into warm saved Saints.

Give your life to Jesus today.

Song number 623. I will follow Thee.

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