Matthew 26:69
Meanwhile, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came up to him. "You were also with Jesus the Galilean," she said.
Occasional Relapse Compatible with Spiritual AdvanceDean Goulburn.Matthew 26:69-75
Peter and JudasJ. W. Mays, M. A.Matthew 26:69-75
Peter's Denial of JesusMarcus Dods Matthew 26:69-75
Peter's RecoveryF. Skerry.Matthew 26:69-75
Peter's RepentanceW. D. Herwood.Matthew 26:69-75
Sin in SequenceJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 26:69-75
Skill Required to Keep Up a LieF. Jacox.Matthew 26:69-75
St. Peter Denying His LordW.F. Adeney Matthew 26:69-75
Telling a Lie a Big TaskDean Swift.Matthew 26:69-75
The Denying DiscipleDr. Bonar.Matthew 26:69-75
The Fall of PeterA. Barnes, D. D.Matthew 26:69-75
The Old Nature Reasserting ItselfH. Bonar, D. D.Matthew 26:69-75

It says much for the veracity of the Gospel narratives that the evangelists have not shrunk from recording an incident which is to the shame of the chief of the apostles. And yet we may be sure that the charity which covers a multitude of sins would have buried this sad story in eternal oblivion if it had not been full of important lessons for all ages. These things are not written for Peter's shame, but for our instruction. No doubt the first record of the story was derived from the confession of the penitent apostle's own lips.

I. IT IS POSSIBLE FOR ONE WHO LOVES CHRIST TO DENY HIM. In the case of Judas we have seen that knowledge does not prevent treason; here we see that love does not secure one against the weakness of denial. The disciple betrayed his great Teacher, the friend denied his beloved Saviour. The offences were utterly different. Yet St. Peter's is distressing because it overcame the loyalty of love. The emotional and impetuous are in an especial danger of lulling before sudden temptations.

II. SELF-CONFIDENCE INVITES TEMPTATION. We pray, "Lead us not into temptation." Yet St. Peter boldly walked into it. His love for his Master kept him near to Jesus. While almost all the rest of the disciples - all but St. John - had fled, Peter hung on to the outskirts of the procession as Jesus was carried off under arrest to Jerusalem. For this we admire him. He was braver than the apostles who had not a chance of denying their Lord, because they had escaped from the dangerous scenes. It is not just, therefore, to say that he wilfully put himself in the way of danger. But if his heart drew him near to Christ, his humility and self-distrust should have warned him to be on his guard. Our loyalty to Christ may call us into difficult places; but then we should recognize that they are difficult, and pray for grace that we may walk circumspectly in them.

III. COURAGE IN EXCITING DANGERS IS OFTEN FOLLOWED BY COWARDICE UNDER QUIETER CIRCUMSTANCES. in the garden St. Peter was brave as a]ion, slashing at the high priest's servant with his sword. In the palace courtyard he cowers before a waiting maid's joke. It is a great man's house, and St. Peter is an uncouth fisherman; Christ has been seized, and his cause is apparently lost; the watch is long, the night chill, the disciple weary. All these things tend to undermine courage. But it is among such circumstances that we most need to be on our guard. Then there is no excitement of the battle to sustain us. In the hour of depression our danger is great.

IV. ONE FALL LEADS TO ANOTHER. If St. Peter can deny his Master once, it is not at all wonderful that he should deny him thrice. The descent to evil is an inclined plane, which grows steeper as we proceed along it. Therefore it is most needful to resist the tempter at his first onslaught. Like St. Peter, Christ was thrice attacked by the tempter. But unlike his servant, he worsted the foe at the first attack, and met him with the added strength of victory at the subsequent assaults.

V. THE TRUE CHRISTIAN WILL REPENT OF HIS UNFAITHFULNESS. The crowing cock reminds St. Peter of his Master's warning. Then his repentance is sudden and bitter. Christ's servant cannot sin without suffering. But his tears are healing. Though he fall, he shall rise again. - W.F.A.

Now Peter sat without in the palace.
One of the most melancholy instances of depravity ever committed. But a little while before so confident, seated at the table of the Lord, etc. Draw from it important practical uses.

I. The danger of self-confidence — "Let him that thinketh," etc. Rely on God for strength.

II. The highest favours, the most exalted privileges, do not secure us from the danger of falling into sin.

III. When a man begins to sin his fall from one act to another is easy, perhaps almost certain. The downward road of crime is easy.

IV. True repentance is deep, thorough, bitter.

V. A look from Jesus — a look of mingled affection, pity, and reproof — produces bitter sorrow for sin. Him we injure by our crimes, etc.

VI. When we fall into temptation, let us seek the place of solitude, and pour out our sorrows before God.

VII. Real Christians may be suffered to go far astray. To show them their weakness, etc.

VIII. Yet though a Christian may be suffered to go astray, yet he who should, from this example of Peter, think he might law. fully do it, or who should resolve to do it, thinking that he might, like Peter, weep and repent, would give evidence that he knew nothing of the grace of God.

(A. Barnes, D. D.)

Let us lay to heart some of the most important lessons of this subject.

I. Let no Christian rely on his disposition or feeling for safety from falling.

II. Let no Christian rely upon his past conduct as a safeguard.

III. Let no Christian presume to trust in conscience to keep him right in the hour of danger.

IV. Learn to realize the bitter memory of good words which came too late.

(F. Skerry.)


1. Fear.

2. Self-confidence.

II. THE REPENTANCE OF ST. PETER The compassionatism of the Man of Sorrows. He looked upon Peter. Memory acts in cases of repentance.

(W. D. Herwood.)

I. Peter's sorrow arose from a sense of the guilt of his conduct, but Judas' from a perception of the consequences of his conduct.

II. Peter's sorrow was full of hope, but Judas' was full of despair.

III. Peter's sorrow drove him nearer to God, but Judas' drove him further from God.

IV. Peter's sorrow developed his Christian manhood, but Judas' became an element of sharp retribution. Repent or perish.

(J. W. Mays, M. A.)

I. Who? Peter, the confessor of the Christ of God, etc.

II. Whom?

III. What?

IV. When?

V. Where?

VI. How? Three times, after being warned, through fear of a woman: etc.

(Dr. Bonar.)

A Spanish proverb declares that " for an honest man half his wits is enough, while the whole are too little for a knave; " the ways, that is, as Archbishop Trench expounds the adage, of truth and uprightness, are so simple and plain, that a little wit is abundantly sufficient for those who walk in them; whereas the ways of falsehood and fraud are so perplexed and tangled, that sooner or later all the wit of the cleverest rogue will not preserve him from being entangled therein — a truth often wonderfully confirmed in the lives of evil men.

(F. Jacox.)

He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.

(Dean Swift.)

As an illustration of this law in the kingdom of grace, consider the movement of the tide, when it is coming in. It is movement upon the whole. The water is sure to cover that dry beach in two or three hours' time, and to float that stranded sea-weed; but it is not a movement without relapses. Each wave, I suppose, gains a little ground, but each wave falls back as soon as it has plashed upon the shore. Even so in the Christian life, there may be a forward movement on the whole, consistently with many relapses, though this assertion requires to be guarded by the observation that the relapses must be such as proceed from infirmity, and not from malice prepense. Deliberate, habitual sin cannot possibly consist with spiritual growth; but the shaking of a man's steadfastness by a sudden tornado of temptation (which was St. Peter's case) may do so. The great question is whether, after each such fall, the will recovers its spring and elasticity, and makes a fresh start with new and more fervent prayers and resolve. Indeed the making many fresh starts after relapses of infirmity is a hopeful sign of growth. In order to any great attainment in spiritual life, there must be an indomitable resolve to try and try again, and still to begin anew amidst much failure and discouragement. On warm, dewy mornings in the spring, vegetation makes a shoot; and when we rise and throw open the window, we mark that the may is blossoming in the hedgerows. And those periods when a man can say, "I lost myself sadly yesterday in temper or in talk, but I know that my crucified Lord took upon Him those sins and answered for them, and to-day I will earnestly strive against them in the strength of His Spirit invoked into my soul by earnest prayer;" these are warm, dewy mornings of the soul, when the spiritual life within us sprouts and blossoms apace.

(Dean Goulburn.)

The old fisherman of Galilee, it would seem, in days gone by, had been a man who used strong language. Since He had been a disciple of Christ he had learned to control his language. Three years' intercourse with Christ had done much for him, but it had not done all. The " old man" was still alive and strong." The "new man " was very weak in Peter just at this time. The " old man "had risen up against the " new man." The old nature in Peter was fighting against the Christ that was within him; and if the Lord had not just at that worst moment turned and looked upon Peter, the issue might have been more disastrous than it was. Then Peter saw what he had done — he had been stabbing his Master to the very heart — driving a nail into His cross, and piercing Him with another spear!

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

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