“A Crack in the Rock”
April 23, 2020
A CRACK IN THE ROCK
As we watched Jesus walk toward the cross, there was another story going on at about the same time that deserves our attention. When Simon first came to Jesus, he was given the name Cephas, which translated means Peter or “Petra” the Rock. 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). (John 1:40-42 NIV)
What a burden this could have become. A rock is supposed to be solid. It is supposed to not crack. But this one did.
Poor Peter, all his failures are there for us to see in great detail. How would you like that to be written about you? How would you like for your history to be written for everyone to see for all eternity in the Word of God? Peter didn’t have much choice. When you become one of the first 12 Disciples of Christ, the good, the bad and the ugly will be known by everyone.
The drama all began before the Last Supper. Look back at Luke 22:31-34 – “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.“ (NIV)
Peter is warned of the coming events, but in his enthusiasm, he refuses to believe what the Lord is telling him. Peter has been warned, and now the time has come.
John 18:15-18 – 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, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself. (NIV)
After Jesus’ arrest Peter and John followed along behind the arresting party. When they came to the house of the High Priest, Annas, John went on inside because he was known to those there, but Peter waited outside.
The first trip up was from a little girl who asked about Peter being a disciple. What’s the harm in telling a little white lie to a little girl? What difference is she going to make anyway? However, after you’ve told the first one the second lie is a little easier.
John 18:25 – 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.”
The next lie came around the warming fire. “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” Put in the negative, it’s a little easier to just say no, isn’t it? After all, that’s the answer they expected, wasn’t it?
John 18:26 – 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?” Again, Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (NIV)
The third question, they seemed to be boring in on the truth. And again, Peter denies knowing Jesus, and it happens, just as Jesus had said it would… and the cock crows. Dr. Luke also talks about this event.
Luke 22:60:62 – Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (NIV)
I can’t imagine what was going on in Peter’s mind at that time. He had let the Lord down as Jesus had prophesied. Look again at verse 61: The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the words the Lord had spoken to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” What response was left, but to cry? He had failed his friend.
Don’t be too harsh on Peter, we have all failed our Lord at one time or another. He said we would: Romans 3:23 says for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. But that passage is followed soon by Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus knew Peter would fall. Jesus knew we would fail. He knew all of us would let Him down sooner or later and from time to time. But He has made provision for that. He knew Peter would fail, that’s why there is a chapter 21 in the Gospel of John. Let’s look in it and see what happens.
John 21:15-19 – 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.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (NIV)
Jesus meets His friends on the shore of the lake and prepared breakfast for them as they were coming ashore. Imagine that, being one of Jesus’ friends and He’s cooking for you. The picture is backwards, isn’t it? Shouldn’t they be serving Him? After all, just a few days ago Jesus was hanging on the cross and they had scattered.
As they sit and look at the campfire, does Peter see the glowing embers and is he reminded of that night when he stood around a different fire and was questioned about knowing his friend Jesus? Can Peter remember the pain in his heart as he told those three lies, denying he knew Christ? Worst of all can he remember when Jesus turned and looked him in the eye, knowing what he had just done?
I’ve talked before about the fact that I believe that when we arrive in heaven, we won’t need to hear a single word from Jesus. I believe all we will need to know will be revealed in His eyes. All the love in the world will be shown to us, just in the way He looks at us.
But now Peter remembers a different look in Jesus’ eyes, a look of disappointment. How can he ever forget that look? How can he ever overcome the feeling of letting his friend, letting his Rabbi, letting his Savior down?
Then Jesus stands and, maybe, helps Peter to his feet. They walk down the shoreline, and maybe, Jesus puts his arm around the big fisherman’s shoulders. Then Jesus asks Peter three times, each time more emphatically, if he will feed His sheep. Of course, Peter’s reply is, “Yes.”
But the last phrase Jesus speaks is the key. “Follow Me!” The emphasis here can’t be captured in writing, it must be heard. The emphasis is on the first word FOLLOW. The Follow is a deeper Follow, a complete Follow, Following with the heart. This “Follow Me” is what He says to us today. With all the cracks in the Rock that was Peter, Jesus restored him and asked Peter to follow Him. And Jesus says no less to us today, so drop your nets and follow Him. That’s all He asks in return.
Bostwick UMC 4/26/20
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