Mark 14:66-72

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 11, 2005

Peter Denies Jesus

The apostle Peter is going to go through the most difficult time of his life.  He’s going to deny that he knows Jesus Christ.  But it didn’t just happen in a moment – there was a progression of events throughout that evening that led to this moment.

The previous evening, during the Last Supper, Jesus warned Peter:

(Mark 14:30 NKJV)  Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times."

But in his own pride, Peter claimed that he would never deny Jesus.

Then later that night while they were in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus warned the disciples that they needed to be on the alert, that they too would be facing a time of temptation.  He encouraged them to stay awake and pray, but instead they just slept.

And then, after Jesus was arrested, we saw Peter slipping a little further away from the Lord as he followed Jesus at a distance, as he was sitting with the wrong people, and as he was warming himself at the fire of the world.

And now he’s about to deny the Lord.

If Peter could deny the Lord, should we be surprised when we too fail?

:66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came.

The house had an open courtyard where Peter was. The trial of Jesus before the high priest was taking place on the second floor of the building.

servant girlspaidiske – a young girl, late childhood, early youth

John (18:15-18) tells us that this young gal was the “keeper of the door” and that Peter wasn’t by himself that night. It appears that there was another disciple with him, and it seems that it was John. John apparently knew people in the household of the high priest and he had already gone into the courtyard ahead of Peter. Then John went back to the door to get Peter let into the courtyard. It was this gal that let Peter into the courtyard that was now talking with him.


It doesn’t take much

Sometimes we can think that it would take a lot to make us deny the Lord. We can imagine ourselves being tied up at the hands of terrorists putting a gun to our head and demanding that we renounce Jesus.
With Peter it was just a little servant girl.
In the book of Judges, a great warrior named Sisera was not killed by the armies marching against him, but by a woman who gave him a place to stay – she drove a tent spike through his head.
Samson couldn’t be defeated by the armies of the Philistines, but he was defeated by his own lust for a woman.
“Beware of Dog!”
Upon entering a little country store, the stranger noticed a sign saying “DANGER! BEWARE OF DOG!” posted on the door glass. Inside, he noticed a harmless old hound dog asleep on the floor near the cash register. He asked the store’s owner “Is that the dog folks are supposed to beware of?” “Yep,” the proprietor answered, “That’s him.” The stranger couldn’t help being amused. “That certainly doesn’t look like a dangerous dog to me,” he chuckled. “Why in the world did you decide to post that sign?” “Because,” the owner replied, “before I posted that sign, people kept tripping over him.”

Sometimes it’s just an insignificant thing on the floor that trips us up.

It was Peter who had been sleeping in the garden and warned:  
(Mark 14:38 NKJV)  "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
And now the temptation has come through someone seemingly small and insignificant.  Peter would later write,
(1 Pet 5:8 NKJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Don’t just beware of the lions, but also the sleeping dogs.

:67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth."

looked at himemblepo – to turn one’s eyes on; to gaze intently at.

You also were with Jesus of Nazareth

Contrast this with what happens later in the book of Acts when Peter and John were defending themselves before the Sanhedrin:

(Acts 4:13 NKJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
We often look at this verse in Acts and think of this as something that we want to strive for.  We want people to see that we’ve “been with Jesus”.
But for Peter as he warms himself during the trial of Jesus, it’s the thing that embarrasses and frightens him.

Are you afraid of people finding out that you’re a Christian?

Or are you hoping for people to find out that you’re a Christian?

:68 But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying."

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

:68 And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.

Peter leaves the open courtyard for awhile and goes out into the covered passageway that leads to the street.

rooster crowed – the other gospels only record one rooster crowing, but since Mark’s gospel is Peter’s account, it’s a little more detailed – even painfully so.

It’s no big deal for a rooster to crow in the morning, it happens every day. But when the rooster crows a second time, it jogs Peter’s memory.

:69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, "This is one of them."

The young gal speaks to the bystanders.

John tells us that this gal was a relative of Malchus, the fellow who had his ear cut off by Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18:26)

:70 But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, "Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it."

Now the guys Peter had been standing by at the fire take up the accusation that Peter had been with Jesus.

Luke tells us that this next accusation took place about an hour after the servant girl had accused Peter of following Jesus (Luke 22:59).

speech - lalia - speech, dialect; Apparently Peter spoke with an accent, something that gave him away as a Galilean, just like Jesus.  Perhaps it was the way he said “ya’ll”.

:71 Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!"

curse and swear – after all, Peter was a sailor (or a fisherman) wasn’t he? We usually think of cursing and swearing as using bad language, but this may not have been what Peter was doing.

Actually, the words speak of Peter putting himself under a curse, saying something like, “May I be condemned and go to hell if I’m a follower of Jesus”.

I do not know this Man …

Compare this with some other things that Peter has said about Jesus:

(John 6:66-69 NKJV) From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. {67} Then Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also want to go away?" {68} But Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. {69} "Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

:72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times."


Conviction and the Word

Even though the rooster crowing might have jogged Peter’s memory, it wasn’t the crowing of a rooster that brought conviction to Peter. It wasn’t even the look of Jesus. It was the words of Jesus.
The importance of God’s Word.
True repentance won’t come from a rooster, or someone like me making noise at you.
True repentance will come from God’s Word getting into your heart.
(Heb 4:12 NLT) For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are.
(2 Tim 3:16-17 NKJV) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, {17} that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
It’s important to keep my life immersed in God’s Word.
If I want to keep on the growing edge in my life, I need to keep myself exposed to God’s Word.
God’s Word is like a grinding wheel – and to keep myself sharp, I need to press against it.  I might not always like the feeling of the grinding, but I can’t be sharp without it.
It’s important when I am sharing with others that I am sharing God’s Word.
I won’t bring conviction to anyone. But God’s Word will.
Some would say, “Well what if they don’t believe that the Bible is God’s Word?”  I’d say that this still doesn’t mean that you don’t use it.  If a robber sticks a gun in my face and asks for my wallet, what happens when he pulls the trigger? Does it really matter whether or not I believe in guns?
Some helpful Scriptures:  Romans 3:23; 5:8; 6:23; 10:9

:72 And when he thought about it, he wept.

he thought about itepiballo – to cast upon, to throw one’s self upon, used of waves rushing into a ship. Peter threw his mind onto the word that Jesus had said.

weptklaio – to mourn, weep, lament; it’s a strong word – Peter isn’t just sniffling, he’s weeping, convulsing.

Luke records

(Luke 22:62 NKJV) So Peter went out and wept bitterly.


What kind of tears?

Not all tears mean the same thing …
A wife became quite concerned over her husband’s declining health. His color was very pale and lifeless and he had a terrible lack of energy for even the simplest of tasks. After much prodding and cajoling, she persuaded him to go to the doctor to find out what his problem might be. The doctor examined him carefully and ran a full battery of tests to determine the exact nature of the man’s illness. After evaluating the test results, he called the woman into his office to give his prognosis. “Your husband is suffering from a rare form of anemia. Without proper treatment, he could be dead in a matter of just a few weeks,” he informed the very anxious wife. He went on to say, “However it can be successfully treated with the right care and diet. With the proper course of treatment, I am happy to report that you can expect full recovery.” The wife was very relieved and asked what kind of action was necessary. The doctor gave his prescription, “You will need to get up every morning and fix a complete breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc. Make sure that he has a home-cooked lunch each afternoon of fresh-baked bread and home-made soup. For dinner prepare a meal of fresh salad, old- fashioned meat and potatoes, fresh vegetables and perhaps home-made pie or cake for dessert. Because his immune system is so compromised, you will need to keep the house scrupulously clean. It will also be important to keep his stress level very low, so avoid any kind of confrontations or arguments.” The wife emerged from the doctor’s office and with tears rolling down her cheeks, she faced her husband. The husband took one look at his wife and said very seriously, “The news is bad isn’t it? What did the doctor say?” With a choked voice, the sobbing wife told her beloved husband, “The doctor says, you’re gonna die.”

The wife’s tears weren’t exactly for what they should have been.

Peter wasn’t the only disciple who had done something against Jesus that night and ended up weeping.
(Mat 27:3-5 NKJV) Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He (Jesus) had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, {4} saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!" {5} Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Judas apparently felt some sort of sadness as well.  But his sorrow led to his own death.

There are two kinds of tears, two kinds of sorrow.  Paul talks about this when he wrote to the Corinthian church.  He had written some pretty strong things to them and his letters had caused a great deal of tears in the church.
(2 Cor 7:8-11 NKJV) For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. {9} Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. {10} For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

There are two kinds of sorrow.  The sorrow of the world is being sad that you got caught.  It’s being sad for being in a difficult circumstance.  It’s feeling sorry for yourself.

The sorrow of the world leads to death.

The right kind of sorrow produces “repentance”.  It produces a change in a person’s life.  It’s the kind of change that leads to salvation.

We aren’t saved because we change our lives, but if we really are following Jesus, then we’re going to want to change.  What does this “change” look like?

{11} For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Godly sorrow produces a heart that will do whatever it takes to change.

The sorrow that Judas experienced simply led to his own death.

The sorrow that Peter experienced would lead to forgiveness and restoration.

In Psalm 84, the writer talks about people who make the journey to God’s House, the people who want to be with God:
(Psa 84:5-6 NKJV)  Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage. {6} As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.

Baca means “weeping”.  People who are journeying to God’s presence will take the valleys filled with weeping and make them into something healthy, something that heals, a spring.