John 18:25-27 Easter at Christmas: Contrasting Peter and Jesus

25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a cock crowed.

Easter at Christmas:  Contrasting Peter and Jesus

As I read through the commentary on the way to work, I was fighting sleep.  My body has not been kind to me since I vigorously did did a Workout Kidz routine with the children and tried to stretch out my back.  Finally last night I got some sleep.  I am reminded each time how the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  Those are words that Jesus spoke to Peter when he was falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In this passage we see Peter finally fail to stand up in a time of trial at exactly the same time as Jesus is succeeding at standing up to interrogation.  The two stories are intertwined to emphasize the contrast between Peter and his Lord.  Peter is asked if he knows Jesus and Peter lacks the strength to stand up to a servant girl.  Despite being struck, Jesus points out to Annas that the trial he is trying to conduct is illegal.  He then forces a formal trial.

Jesus and Peter contrast our own strength from Jesus with our weakness in the flesh.  When we are one with Christ we act like him and face bravely into the most difficult situations.  However, when we try and protect ourselves we fall short.  we deny our faith through our words and actions.  Living in this way becomes a slippery slope and we sometimes talk about Christians backsliding.

Let’s look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  Let us consider that he endured such shame.  Let us think about he embraced humility and embodied strength.  then let us run with perseverance the race that is marked out before us.

Prayer

Physically I am weak.  My body does not function as well as it used to.  I do not have the natural capacities I once had.  Please fill me with the strength that I need in order to cling to you.

Questions

  1. How does Peter fail?
  2. Why does Peter fail?
  3. How is Peter contrasted with Jesus?
  4. In what ways have you seen people fail like Peter?
  5. In what ways have you seen people stand firm like Jesus?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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11 Responses to John 18:25-27 Easter at Christmas: Contrasting Peter and Jesus

  1. sjcavitt says:

    1) Peter failed by continually denying that he knew Jesus and was His disciple.
    2) Peter had a moment of weakness, because he may have been fearful or ashamed.
    3) While Jesus was brave and bold in confessing that He was God’s Son, Peter was afraid to even admit that He had associated with Jesus.
    4) Sometimes believers may be fearful for what they stand for and may pretend and act like they are a part of the world rather than confessing the name of Jesus.
    5) I instantly think of the believers that are persecuted or even put to death for their faith in Jesus. They give their all for Him!

  2. Jenna says:

    1. Peter denies Jesus three times.
    2. It looks like Peter was afraid of what the other people would think of him, or maybe he was afraid of being arrested as Jesus was!
    3. Unlike Peter, Jesus does not back down on His promises, but is faithful to death!
    4. I think we all struggle with denying Jesus in some way. Maybe we aren’t blatantly denying knowing Him, but we deny Him by choosing to serve ourselves, rather than Him and His Body.
    5. I’ve heard many stories about Christians who chose to die rather than deny Jesus!

  3. Ed says:

    Peter was afraid for his life and ashamed, Jesus told him this would happen so being greatly humbled gave him strength and wisdom for what he needed to do after the death and resurrection of Jesus. I struggle daily but will continue to walk with Jesus the best I can and seeking growth daily, question myself daily, serve daily, pray daily etc. When reading the other remarks and being reminded of many who die daily in the name of Christ and when I’m safe I can say I will die in his word. Will the test come when I must choose for my life or to save my family that I will choose Jesus knowing that all will be fine no matter what I think. I pray I will be strong enough if that day should come. I’m afraid but hope my example will be for others to follow Jesus Christ.

  4. Mary says:

    Just processing some things…

    All mankind is made in the image of God, who is Holy Trinity. As such, at the very core of our identity, we are made to love, to give ourselves to one another, and to worship God together (Gen. 2:18; Deut. 6:4, 13). “There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. . . . If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly” (David Foster Wallace).

    I came across Deut. 6 in looking up some of these passages and am reminded of when Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Mt. 22:37). I just love the symmetry with the OT and the NT. Here is my summary of Deut. 6: To fear God means to love/worship Him with our entire being; if we do this, it will be counted as righteousness, resulting in life. Now, I just studied the words “righteousness” and “death” in Romans 6:15-18, and concluded that righteousness within that specific context (which Paul draws from the OT usage) is holiness in keeping in communion with God and death is unholiness and being out of communion with God.

    Unfortunately, sin has depraved man of his ability to think, feel, and act righteously (Gen. 2:16-17; Rom. 1:18, 21). Instead of worshiping his Creator, man worships the creation (Rom. 1:25). Grudem says that sin robbed man of the ability to know what is true and what is right, and to know who he is, when Adam and Eve doubted the truth of God’s word and decided to disobey his command, usurping authority from God (492-493). And what did it benefit them? It broke their fellowship with God. Sin is irrational and it is blasphemous in that it attempts to exalt oneself above God and denies His goodness.

    How then can we know God unless He makes himself known to us? We are unable. How can we turn to Him when we are turned in upon ourselves in self-lordship? We are unable. And so we hide in shame, refuse to take responsibility, and walk further away from Him (Gen 3-4). We become spiritually dead to His presence because we have turned our backs to Him. So I ask, does God really cast us from his presence or do we run from his?

    Now what? He must pursue us and reconcile us, and he does. He must free us from ourselves, because we are in bondage to ourselves, our sinful desires, and he does (Jn. 3:20; Rom. 3:10-12, 21-26; Eph. 2:1-10). As a loving Father, he comes after those who are his, whom he set apart from before the foundations of the world (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:4).

    Thank you Father for coming after me.

  5. In what ways have you seen people fail like Peter?
    “Some, including myself, consistently forget to submit their fears to Jesus. Or sometimes we face situations ill-equipped because we have not prepared ourselves emotionally and spiritually, we have equipped ourselves with our own strength and have not rested in Jesus as a our strength beforehand. As for any situation, we need to ask God for additional strength, widsom, etc. Jesus is our everything, we need to instead ask that He help us rest in Jesus to be our strength and wisdom that we need.”

  6. karas says:

    Peter REALLY failed here, for all of us to see, but like I wrote on a previous day, I so appreciate this account being included because it shows us how we fail and God still uses and restores us. Such grace He provides. I know I’ve failed like Peter by promising to change and then doing the very sins I promised I would never do. Thankfully as I grow spiritually this happens less and less but I am still guilty of it. So, I am no better than Peter. I feel I’ve shared his shame and pain at times. Yet God commends contrition, saying that godly grief produces repentance and is therefore good. I thank God for the Holy Spirit’s conviction in our lives.

  7. Amy McCashen says:

    1. Peter fails because he denies knowing Christ.
    2. Peter fails because he is afraid of being associated with the man they were putting to death.
    3. Peter is the opposite of Jesus.
    4. I have seen myself fail in standing up for Jesus in being afraid of what others might think of me.
    5. I have stood up for Jesus in several different situations , but I haven’t ever really been tested that harshly.

  8. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    1. How does Peter fail?
    He denies his Lord whom he has pledged to follow.
    2. Why does Peter fail?
    He did not want to be associated with Jesus in that moment, probably out of fear.
    3. How is Peter contrasted with Jesus?
    Jesus is one who is treated unfairly. Peter, in a sense, treats Jesus unfairly here, denying his loyalty to him.
    4. In what ways have you seen people fail like Peter?
    I have seen people, who once enticed by money and popularity, ditch the simple and often painful life of following Jesus.
    5. In what ways have you seen people stand firm like Jesus?
    I have seen churches stand up against what the government calls marriage. I have seen my pastor fight against the sin in this city of Chicago. I have seen a family at out church stick their roots in Lawndale for the long haul, commuting themselves to starting ministry in that often dangerous neighborhood.

  9. ashleypdye says:

    Peter fails by denying Jesus. He does this because he is weak and human. When I was a child, I wondered how in the world Peter could do this to Jesus. Now I see that I have not been too far from him myself. Thankfully, I don’t deny Jesus in word, but I do in thought and deed. So often, I have to be refocused, and realize that Jesus is not Lord of my life! I must repent and turn from my wicked ways. Lately, I have learned that I cannot hope to be faithful to Jesus. It is only through his faithfulness that I can return with any kind of love for him.

  10. zacbodine says:

    Peter fails by denying Jesus which was foretold by Jesus himself. It is amazing that the most zealous most zealously denies him. I think that the Holy Spirit used this to show that our religious fervor doesn’t save us. It is not that we think the right things and have our theological ducks in a row. It is that we live in Jesus.

  11. Dylan says:

    1. Peter fails in 3 separate denials of Jesus.
    2. Peter’s view of God is small in this passage. Had he remembered who God was, how could he have denied him? Yet, we have all done this. We all have doubts.
    3. Jesus always speaks the truth, regardless of the earthly consequences. He has no fear of man. Peter on the other hand has tried to save his life and thus dishonored God and his own soul. He perfectly contrast Jesus here.
    4. I honestly haven’t been around my Christian friends enough to see them deny Christ. Oddly, this is kind of depressing. I wish I could say I have. However, I have found myself not being as bold as I would like to be many times. And, there are aquantences of mine whom I also suspect act more Godly in their church body. These are the people that catch me off guard by saying, “Oh yeah, I go to church every Sunday!” yet they give no other signs that they are walking with God.
    5. I think of a man at my church, Geary. Every time he speaks with someone, he always bring the glory back to God. Some Christians dance around the good news of Jesus and forget that God is in control. They start to sound like an unsaved person as they get further away from the message on Sunday morning. I just had to compliment him on this a couple weeks ago, and it brought tears to my eyes.

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