Luke Series- Lession 23- Luke 22:54-62

Session 23- Avoiding Spiritual Downfall

Luke 22:54-62

Subject: Downfall

Central Theme: Avoiding Spiritual Downfall

Objective Statement: We can avoid spiritual downfall by avoiding the steps that Peter took during Jesus’s arrest and trial.

Keyword: Steps

  • Step 1- Disbelief. v.47-53
  • Step 2- Distance. v. 54-55
  • Step 3- Denial. v.56-60a
  • Step 4- Defeat. v.60b-62

Lesson Resources:

 

Introduction:

  • “When I grow up, I really want to fail.”
  • “Now that I am saved, and I know that Jesus died and rose again for me, I really hope I let him down.”
  • Nobody says this!
  • No professing believer in Christ answers that they want to live in spiritual defeat if they were to be asked that question directly.
  • But if you are like me, then you have had moments of where you have let the Lord down.
  • We have had moments of spiritual defeat.
  • None of us want that!
  • How can we avoid spiritual downfall?

We can avoid spiritual downfall by avoiding the steps that Peter took during Jesus’s arrest and trial.

Step 1- Disbelief. v.47-53

(47)  And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

(48)  But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

 

Explanation:

  • In this text we find Jesus being betrayed by Judas when the temple guard and those directing them came to arrest Jesus.
  • It must have been incredibly disappointing and difficult to be betrayed by Judas.
  • I think it is interested that Jesus referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” in this moment.
  • Whenever Jesus referred to Himself as “the Son of Man” He was claiming to be the prophesied Messiah from Daniel 7. This Messiah, the Son of man, was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom.

(13)  I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

(14)  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14

  • Being an everlasting Kingdom that will not be destroyed, this Son of man must be eternally existent. This Son of Man is clearly God.
  • So, when Judas kisses Jesus to betray Him, Jesus asks Him this very scary question. “Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”
  • Judas had surely seen Jesus heal the sick, walk on water, calm the sea, and even raise people from the dead. He had heard about his transfiguration, and the voice of the Father booming from the sky.  He would have known that Jesus claimed to be God.  He certainly would have known about Daniel 7:13-14 that said that the Messiah would be a supernatural King with a glorious kingdom.
  • It certainly was fool’s errand to betray someone with that kind of power and authority for 30 pieces of silver. And Judas certainly had a fool leading him.  Earlier we were told that Satan had entered His heart.

 

(3)  Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.

Luke 22:3

 

  • Satan really is the ultimate fool, having fully seen the identity of Jesus and the power of God, and in rebellion trying to fight against this power, and believing that You are somehow deserving of what is rightfully God’s.

 

Application:

  • Disbelief reigned here. We may try to comfort ourselves with the idea that we have not seen, and so therefore it is harder for us to believe.  Yet, we have a more sure Word of prophecy than even Judas did.
  • The fact of the resurrection is something we must all come to terms with, and we must decide to accept or reject.
  • We must also recognize the authority of Jesus. He is the Son of God.  He was made flesh.  He did die and resurrect for our sins.  But be assured He is coming back and will rule and reign on an everlasting throne.  If He is the authority, then our job is to submit to His will and not fight Him.  The good news is His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

 

Transitional Sentence:  This disbelief was not just seen in Judas.  It was seen in Peter and the other disciples as well.

(49)  When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

(50)  And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

(51)  And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.

(52)  Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?

(53)  When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

 

Explanation:

  • The 11 disciples besides Judas were there, too. They saw and perceived what was about to happen, and so they ask a pertinent question.  “Lord shall we smite with the sword?”.
  • They had been talking about swords with Jesus earlier that night in the upper room after the Passover meal. Look earlier in the chapter at verse 35:

 

Luke 22:35-36

(35)  And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.

  • As part of the discipleship process that Jesus had sent the disciples out two-by-two. It was not just the 12, either.  There were more.  Look at Luke 10:1-4.

 

(1)  After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

(2)  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

(3)  Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

(4)  Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

Luke 10:1-4

 

  • When they went out here in Luke 10, God told them not to take those things. He wanted them to learn to trust the Lord for what they needed.
  • But in chapter 22, He told them something different because the times were changing. Look at verse 36:

 

(36)  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Luke 22:36

  • Why was this necessary? Why was Jesus saying that now they should have a sword?

 

(37)  For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

Luke 22:37

  • Jesus had told them that the Old Testament was prophesying that He would be reckoned “among the transgressors”. Jesus was about to be treated as a criminal.  This meant that it was in God’s will for Him to be arrested, tried, and killed.
  • This was not the first time that Jesus had told them, including Peter, what would happen to him.

Luke 9:18-22

(18)  And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

(19)  They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again.

(20)  He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

(21)  And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

(22)  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

 

  • In a parallel passage in Mark when Jesus had told them these things, Peter rebuked Jesus for it.

Mark 8:31-33

(31)  And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

(32)  And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.

(33)  But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

 

  • So, when the chief priests and elders of the temple came out with their guards, the disciples should have known that this was coming. They should have understood that this was all a part of God’s plan.
  • Peter should have understood that Jesus was to be numbered with the transgressors, but instead He was still trying to fight.
  • The reason Jesus told them to sell their cloak and buy a sword was to let them know that there would be a time of persecution coming for those who were following Jesus.
  • They needed something for personal defense, not to wage war to bring in a kingdom. If they could arrest and try the leader, then they would not stop in going after His followers.
  • Yet Peter and the others do not get it. He goes in for the kill trying to take the guy’s head off.  He only gets the ear, and what happened?  Jesus puts the man’s ear back on His head.  “The revolution” will not work if the leader keeps healing His enemies.
  • Notice also that Jesus confronts them with a relevant question:

(52)  Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves?

(53)  When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

  • To reword His reasoning, we can think of it like this: “You’re treating me like a criminal?  If I had really committed an obvious crime, you could have arrested me in broad daylight with everyone there.  When I was in the temple you did not arrest me, but now you come out to arrest me with all manner of weapons- swords and spears?  I guess that is what you must do.  You must come to get me in secret, in the dark, because that is who is leading you- the power of darkness.  This is your time to do what you have come to do.”
  • This section is fraught with disbelief.
    • There is the disbelief of Judas that is evidence in his betrayal of Jesus.
    • There is disbelief in the apostles, as they are trying to institute Jesus’ kingdom and defend Jesus in man’s reasoning and philosophy and not according to what Jesus had taught them.
    • There is the disbelief of the religious leaders and their guards who were coming out during the dark to do the works of darkness. In another parallel passage it is recorded that when Jesus spoke to this band of guards that had come to arrest him, they had all fallen.
    • They ignored this power and His healing of one of them, and still arrested Him for the crime of claiming to be God. Talk about a lack of faith.

Application:

  • Disbelief is a root cause of spiritual failure. When we fail to believe what God says and act on that, we are going to go in the wrong direction.
  • So, how do we see our faith grow?

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Response:

  • Do you have a plan to get into the Word of God?
  • Do you have a habit of getting something out of the Word of God?
  • Do you have a habit of applying the Word of God to your life? This is what you need.

We can avoid spiritual downfall by observing the avoiding the steps that Peter took during Jesus’s arrest and trial.

Step 1- Disbelief. v.47-53

Step 2- Distance. v.54-55

(54) Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

(55)  And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

Explanation:

  • So the people that came to arrest Jesus did their works of darkness.
  • They “took him, and led him.”
  • They went to the official residence of Caiaphas, the high priest. Annas was there, too, who had been the high priest before and was father-in-law of Caiaphas.
  • We know that most all the disciples scattered and abandoned Jesus. This was, at least in part, the temptation that Jesus asked them to pray about, and that He knew they would face.  They all denied him, at least at that level, because of a fear of what would happen to them.  Peter had overconfidently tried to attack those who came to arrest Jesus and had somehow averted arrest himself.  Perhaps because of Jesus’ miraculous healing of that man.
  • Peter followed here but notice what it said about his following in verse 54.

(54) Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

Luke 22:54

  • We do know that John followed Jesus and even went into the palace of the High Priest himself.

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.  (16)  But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.

John 18:15-16

 

  • Peter’s overconfidence in his following of Jesus showed up in the Passover meal. Jesus told him that he would face a challenge, and Peter made an incredibly confident statement.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  (32)  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  (33)  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.  (34)  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Luke 22:31-34

  • Peter’s overconfidence showed up when he began to attack those arresting Jesus. It is almost as though He had something to prove and had not believed Jesus when He had said this was all a part of God’s plan.
  • Here Peter is following, but his disbelief has led to him following “afar off”.
  • The physical distance is understandable, but this disbelief had led to a distancing of himself in his allegiance to Christ. He had said he was willing to go to prison and to death.  Now he is scared even to be associated with him.

Application:

  • We need to be wary of spiritual overconfidence as well. We need to be careful about disbelief in our lives.  Why?  Because a lack of faith often leads to distance between us and the Lord.  Scripture puts it this way:

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
1 Corinthians 10:12

Response:

  • Is there a distance between you and Jesus today? Are you ashamed to be identified with him in some place in your life?

We can avoid spiritual downfall by observing the avoiding the steps that Peter took during Jesus’s arrest and trial.

Step 1- Disbelief. v.47-53

Step 2- Distance. v.54-55

Step 3- Denial. v.56-60a

(56)  But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him.  (57)  And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.  (58)  And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

(59)  And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean.  (60)  And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.

Explanation:

  • Peter had kept a distance from Jesus and covertly used the darkness to avoid any problems. Now next to the fire he begins to get the scrutiny of those who were siding with the religious leaders against Christ.  Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny him, and that must have shocked Peter.
  • And yet here he is, shortly after being willing to take on a whole garrison of soldiers, scared of being pointed out by “a certain maid”.

 

Application:

  • Have you ever felt passionately about something and then felt differently about it not that much later?
  • I know I have.
  • Paul expressed it this way:

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

Romans 7:19

  • Have you felt that way? What I want to do, I do not do.  Sometimes the thing I do not want to do, I end up doing!  And then I feel like what Paul says later in that same passage.

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Romans 7:24

  • Overconfidence and disbelief had led to distance. Distance here was giving birth to denial.

We can avoid spiritual downfall by observing the avoiding the steps that Peter took during Jesus’s arrest and trial.

Step 1- Disbelief. v.47-53

Step 2- Distance. v.54-55

Step 3- Denial. v.56-60a

Step 4- Defeat. v.60b-62

And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.  (61)  And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.  (62)  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Explanation:

“And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.”

  • The fact that the rooster crowed “while he yet spake” left no doubt in the mind and heart of Peter as to Jesus prediction coming true. Can you imagine the weight of this reality hitting him at the noise of that bird?  If that did not weigh heavy on Peter, notice the next phrase.

“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.”

  • What a dramatic moment! Apparently, Peter was in a place where Jesus could make eye contact with him.  The Sovereign Son of God knew what had just happened, and during His own trial He turned and made eye contact with Peter.
  • We are not told what expression Jesus had on His face. Was it anger?  Was it sadness?  Whatever it was, we can be sure it was not an easy thing to see.
  • Look at Peter’s response. He had two reactions.

First, he remembered.

“And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.”

  • In the drama of the night, Peter had forgotten what Jesus had said. At least it was not front of mind.  When he denied Jesus that third time, while he was speaking that rooster crowed, and Jesus turned and looked at Him.  The memory came flooding back.
  • He had been so sure of his own allegiance to Jesus. In one moment, he was, in His own mind, ready to take on hell with a water gun.  At the next moment, he was worried about being identified with Jesus at all.
  • When the rooster crowed, and eye contact was made, it led to this second reaction.

 

Second, Peter wept.

“And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.”

  • He had to get out of there. He could not stay.
  • The emotion of the moment was too overwhelming. What did those around the fire think as he got out of there?  The flood of tears coming as he realized what he had done.
  • This personal failure on top of what they were unjustly doing to Jesus must have been overwhelming to Peter. In the coming few days he must have felt an incredible agony in defeat.

Disbelief led to distance.  Distance led to denial.  Denial led to defeat.

 

Application:

  • One of the evidences of the work of God in our lives is the desire that we have not to disappoint the Lord. None of us want to deny him, and yet we have all denied Him at some point.
  • There have been times where we had an opportunity to speak up and we did not.
  • There have been opportunities to witness left undone. There have been opportunities to stand up for what is right, and we cower.
  • And if you find yourself saying, “Not me. I have never done that.  I would never do that.”, I believe that Peter would tell you to be careful.  Paul would tell you, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”(1 Corinthians 10:12).  John would tell you “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”(1 John 1:8).  I believe Jesus would tell you, “Pray that ye enter not into temptation.” (Luke 22:40).
  • We do not want to experience disbelief, distance, denial, and defeat.
  • Let us not be overconfident. Let believe God and dwell in the Word so that our faith would grow.  Let our confidence be in the Word of God.

Response:

What do you need to do today to avoid spiritual defeat?

Conclusion:

We can avoid spiritual downfall by observing the avoiding the steps that Peter took during Jesus’s arrest and trial.

Keyword: Steps

·        Step 1- Disbelief. v.49-53

·        Step 2- Distance. v. 54-55

·        Step 3- Denial. v.56-60a

·        Step 4- Defeat. v.60b-62

 

The good news is that Jesus came to pick us up when we fall.

  • Peter had experienced this with Jesus before.

Matthew 14:28-33

(28)  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.

(29)  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

(30)  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

(31)  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

(32)  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

(33)  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

  • Jesus did not stay dead. He rose from the dead!  And when He did, it meant something incredible for Peter.  Look at what the angels told the women who discovered the empty tomb.

 Mark 16:7

(7)  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

  • When Peter heard the news, look at how he responded.

Luke 24:12

(12)  Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

  • Jesus was alive!
  • Jesus had prayed for Peter. Do you remember what He had said?

Luke 22:31-32  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  (32)  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

  • Jesus desired that God would use Peter to lead in that early church. After Jesus resurrected, He had a breakfast appointment with Peter.

John 21:15

(15)  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

  • Jesus asked Peter if Peter loved him. Do you know how many times he asked him?  That is right.  He asked him three times.  Who stood up on the day of Pentecost to speak boldly for Jesus?  That is right.  Peter!
  • Did Peter ever have trouble with fear of man again? He did.  Paul even called him out for it.  And yet, God took Peter from that place of defeat, and used him in incredible ways.
  • How bold did Peter get?

John 21:19

(19)  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

  • Notice what Jesus said to him at the end of this verse. It was the same thing Jesus said to Peter at the beginning.  “Follow me”.  This was the words of a rabbi calling a disciple.  Jesus had told Peter, “Follow me and I will make you to become fishers of men.”  That is what Jesus had done.  That is what Peter had become.  That is what Peter ended up giving his life doing.
  • We do not have to live in disbelief, distance, denial, and defeat. Jesus wants us to live in spiritual victory!  Let us follow Jesus today!

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