By my own reckoning, Peter must have been quite a man. He was relatively fearless in many respects and was someone to be reckoned with, humanly speaking. He was probably what we might call a “bull of the woods.” The type of man you would be glad to have around as a friend, if someone else was intent on causing you trouble or bringing harm to you. He was a no nonsense type person who meant what he said and said what he meant.
He is often castigated and ridiculed by some when they view him sinking, as he walked on the water to go to the LORD. Yet remember that he was the only one of the disciples who had the boldness and temerity to step out of the boat in quite a frightening scenario. If one should doubt his willingness to confront those who came to arrest the LORD JESUS, he need only look at him as he unsheathes his sword and sets out to cut someone’s head off.
So we have no doubt that Peter fully believed and meant what he told the LORD that he would do. “Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. ----Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. (Mat 26:33,35)
While Peter expressed the true intent of his heart and mind, yet Peter had to learn some very important lessons about himself and the nature of the Kingdom of GOD, and through him those same lessons are illustrated to the sons of GOD.
The LORD gave Zechariah a prophecy which pronounced the only effective power which the LORD would use in the establishment of HIS Kingdom; “ Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zec 4:6) Then HE went on to describe the means and basis of this great Kingdom. “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel (i.e.; CHRIST) thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it.” (Zec 4:7-9)
The LORD will have all of the glory in this Kingdom and all of the boasting of men shall be laid in the dust. The endeavors and strength of men will be made a “plain” which means they will be brought to nothing. They will be shown to be no strength at all. Nothing that a man can perform or will to do can enhance, promote, or hinder this Kingdom nor can any man stand therein by his own power, might, or activity of his own free will..
Peter was certain that he (of all of the disciples) would be able to even lay down his life for the LORD if necessary. Yet Peter, (like many strong religious men), was not able to recognize his own impotence to endure in the midst of spiritual warfare and he confused human endeavor with the ability to walk in faith. He only considered his ability in the flesh and assumed that he possessed faith enough to perform mighty deeds when necessary.
It was therefore necessary that the LORD should strip Peter of all confidence in his flesh so that he might understand that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of GOD. Until a man is brought to know his total inability to gain any standing with GOD, he will never enter therein.
The LORD ordained that Peter should deny HIM “thrice” (i.e.; three times). I will leave it to the “numerologists” to explain the full significance of this but I think there is perhaps some correlation between Peter’s three strong affirmations of his willingness to stand with the LORD and those three denials which he was destined to utter.
The LORD prophetically declared to HIS disciples, “All ye shall be offended because of me this night.” (Mar 14:27) “But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” (Mar 14:29) This was not the first time that Peter had questioned the LORD’s prophetic teaching; for he had rebuked the LORD when HE told them that HE was going to be killed. The LORD told him then, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Mat 16:23)
After Peter’s first affirmation of his own strength (v.29), the LORD prophesied that this very night Peter would deny HIM three times. Once again Peter rejected the LORD’s prophecy and said with even greater vigor. “If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise.” (Mar 14:31) So we see him twice trusting to the arm of his flesh and certain that he had the “right stuff” to stand with and for the LORD. In this he is akin to those who in the present day speak about standing for the LORD and speaking out in HIS behalf, as if HE needed their support. Any man who will boast of his ability to be “strong” and “stand firm” in “faith” and devotion is not well acquainted with, either, Peter or himself. The arm of the flesh will surely fail, even when it may appear to men that it is able to stand and even triumph to some degree.
Then we see Peter’s final affirmation of his willingness to die with/and/or for the LORD when he drew his sword. “Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.” (John 18:10) It appears that some of the disciples asked the LORD whether or not they should draw their swords (see Luke 22:49) but Peter in his impetuousness did not wait for an answer but took matters into his own hands and smote Malchus, cutting off his ear when he probably intended to cut off his head.
Peter likely was not happy when he was ordered to put up his sword, but he had no power to resist the command of the LORD, for the LORD’s prophecy must be fulfilled and HIS Kingdom’s work must be accomplished. The very deed which Peter committed, in his bravado, would be denied by him later on. “One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?” (John 18:26) “But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.” (Mark 14:71) I find it interesting that Peter’s final denial was as extreme as was his final act of affirmation (i.e, the use of his sword). A fitting end for the boasting of men, for immediately the cock crowed.
Peter denied that he knew the LORD, three times just like he affirmed his allegiance and uwavering devotion three times. The fact that the LORD chastened Peter in the fashion in which HE did, demonstrates that HE will lose none of those which the FATHER gave HIM and will not leave HIS sheep to fend for themselves or to be found relying upon their own righteousness and power. Partial deliverance is not the manner in which HE saves HIS people nor will HE allow them to go on in some supposed cooperative effort to effect their salvation. HE will humble those whom HE loves and give them a broken and a contrite heart, which HE will not despise.
The LORD prophesied that the cock would crow “twice”, with the final outburst of the rooster following close behind Peter’s curse laden denial. This rooster had no idea what the significance of his crowing was, yet it is certain that GOD spoke through him even as HE did through Balaam’s ass. “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God.”(Psa 62:11) There can be no doubt that GOD spoke to Peter through this dumb animal, for upon hearing this sound and thinking upon that which the LORD had said “once”, he went out and wept.
The LORD told a parable about a certain man that had two sons. He told them to go to work in his vineyard. One of the sons said he would go while the other said he would not. The son who said he would go, actually did not go, while the one who said he would not go, repented of his rebellious spirit and went. Peter can be seen in both sons. He boasted of what he would do, but he did not do it for the same reason that he nor James and John, could not watch and pray for even one hour with the LORD. The LORD would demonstrate to them their weakness and inability in the flesh.
Yet because of the LORD’s mercy visited upon Peter, he was also brought to repentance, by the power of GOD. We see the evidence of it by his meekness when questioned by the LORD (see John 21: 15-17) and then in his boldness on the Day of Pentecost as the SPIRIT of GOD rested upon him and he spoke the word of GOD not in his own power but that of the LORD.mam