April 5, 2021

Peter’s Fear

(c) 2012- 2021 by Anna Hazen
Fear causes mental AND physiological changes within your body: It also depends on how strong you are mentally. When frightened, your brain throws into effect, either the fight or flight mode.

If you are strong, you may fight… if not physically, then mentally and verbally, standing up for yourself etc. If you are not that strong, you will do what you can to get away from that situation to the point of just shutting down physically! Either way, your body will react.

First, you start trembling all over. Your blood starts pumping faster than normal and you may say stuff you don’t really mean. The best thing to do in either case, is stay calm. Fear can cause heart attacks as the blood is pumping so fast and your heart may not be able to handle it. Stay calm no matter what else you do. Take some deep breaths and stay focused. First comes the fear, then anger, then remorse, then sadness and or guilt, depending on how you handled the fear.

Remember, PRAYER DOES CHANGE THINGS! Depending on how YOU handle each situation that comes your way. Everything you do or those things that are done to you WILL affect you, somehow, for the rest of your life!

Matthew 26:33-35 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Mk 14:29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.

Now… note the difference!

69-75 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast (were) with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth (betrays) thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Being a fisherman, out in the hot sun every day, and pulling those heavy nets loaded with fish, Peter had to have had some kind of strength. He certainly was no weakling! So why was he so afraid of the Jews, including and especially the Pharisees and high priests and scribes and Sadducee’s?

The explanation is in the Gospel of John. When the man which was blind from his birth was confronted by these “leaders”:

John 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he (Jesus) was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

Jesus told Peter that he (Peter) would deny Him (Jesus) more than twice – (twice meaning it is established. Gen 41:32; Deut 19:15; Prov 20:18, etc.), before the rooster crowed. But the Jews had agreed that if anyone confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, he would be put out of the synagogue. This meant that they would be excommunicated. They would not be able to sell or buy for the sacrifices that were commanded by God; nor would they be allowed to worship in the Temple! These men could not believe that “any good thing” could “come out of Nazareth”, (Jn 14:45-46) especially the Messiah; the King of Israel, the Son of God! They thought that the Messiah would come in all His glory and judge the whole world except them!… not from the little backwater town of Nazareth.

Jn 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

Peter knew this and, for an instant, forgot everything Jesus had shown and taught him for the past three and one half years! Peter had spent time of the best quality with our Lord, but yet forgot – just for an instant and allowed fear to attack him.

It only takes one fraction of a nano-second, when we let out guard down, for satan to enter in and attack us where we are the weakest.

Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Peter, at that second, was weakest because Jesus had been arrested and taken to “jail”… to “death row”. Peter didn’t realize what was going to happen, even though Jesus had told him everything (Jn 14 – 16). When he was confronted by those in the courtyard, he became afraid that they would turn him, also, over to the high priests to be crucified. And he wasn’t quite ready to give his life up for anyone… just for that instant.

First denial: Mar 14:66-68 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

Second Denial: Mar 14:69-72 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after,…

Third denial: they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

Luk 22:58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

Luk 22:59-62 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. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 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. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Again in:

Jn 18:15 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. 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. Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.

25-27 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 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? Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

He must have remembered all that Jesus had told the apostles and realized it was beginning to come true. And for that hour or so, he allowed fear in with the remembrance. In other words, his world was being turned upside down because Jesus had been taken from him… he panicked!

Then, when he saw Jesus crossing the courtyard with the guards to the high priests palace, he remembered what Christ had said – that he, Peter, would actually deny Him three times. He broke down because he had been so weak in his faith. He wasn’t ready yet, to die for anyone, including the Savior… at that time… just for that inkling of a second.

Peter had a very close relationship with our Savior. On the very day He met Peter, Christ specifically changed Peter’s name from Simon to Cephas.

Jn 1:42 And he (Andrew) brought him (his brother, Peter) to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone (pebble).

Matt 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock (the solidity of your faith) I will build my church; and the gates of hell (She’ol; Hades – the grave) shall not prevail (overpower) against it.

In other words, “Upon the realization of and your faith in who I am, revealed to you by my Father, I will build my church”. A pebble can be as tiny as a mustard seed…

Lk 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

Jesus taught Peter privately with the disciples. They practically lived together. They got to know each other real good! So why would Peter run in fear? He knew the things which were to happen, because Jesus had told him….

Satan also heard all that Peter was taught. He saw the close relationship they had. He was bound and determined to prevent Peter from doing what he was to do.

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

If fear could keep Peter from broadcasting God’s Word to the world, satan would use that, and he did. Fortunately Peter came to his senses, and became the greatest witness to us for Christ. Once he realized he was being attacked by satan, he strengthened himself in The Lord.

We too need to follow Peter’s example and strengthen ourselves in The Lord; with prayer, worship and quietude in His Word.

Jn 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

He will help us eliminate fear, and to go out boldly for Him. But first we need to put on the whole Armor of God… along with Charity.

Eph 6:10-11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

My definition of Charity is: The love of God, in the renewed mind, in constant action. Read all of 1 Cor 13. This is the chapter on Charity – the Love of God.

1 Cor 13:4-8 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Charity will drive out fear because it is God’s love.

1 Jn 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Fear has a way of keeping us from doing God’s will. It gives us every excuse not to witness or love anyone. We worry about what peopoe will think of us; whether we will be accepted or not; if we won’t make a mistake; if we will be successful in bringing someone to Christ. So, we just don’t do anything.

God’s Word says the complete opposite. His Word IS His Will, and He WANTS us to get it out to the people. He calls and chooses whomever HE wills to do what He wants.

Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Rom 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Rom 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Rom 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33-34 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus took Peter, a common fisherman, and made him a mighty warrior for the sake of the Gospel.

God has not given us fear, Fear itself, no matter what situation you are in, comes from satan. God gave us power, love and a sound mind.

2 Tim 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

8-9 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

It isn’t that easy, we may think… Peter was still very fearful even after Christ rose into Heaven… but when the Holy Spirit came upon them, He became the boldest of all.

Jn 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Mk 16:14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven (Peter included) as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Unbelief and hardness of heart is, in part, actually caused by fear of the unknown. But one can’t believe until God gives them the faith to believe.

Rom 12:3b … according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Peter hid with the apostles out of fear of the Jews, until Christ appeared to them. But when the Holy Spirit was endewed upon them, they became like night and day… totally different; unafraid, and bold.

Act 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words…

Act 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

When we come upon those who try to cause us to fear, we can always go to our Lord and say with Peter and John:

Act 4:29-30 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.

For those who have not been freed from fear, God’s Word says, you have not because you ask not. Ask and it shall be given unto you.

Matt 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Matt 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Matt 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matt 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Matt 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

There are more scriptures, but you can look them up for yourself.

I hope this message been a blessing to you, and that you will remember always that our Savior is ALWAYS with us… and will strengthen and encourage us in His Truth.