And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.…
I. OBSERVE HOW NEAR THE SIN OF PETER COMES TO THAT OF JUDAS.
1. Peter, like Judas, surrenders his Lord to His foes.
2. The sin of Peter, like that of Judas, was the act of an intimate and confidential friend.
3. This denial by Peter occurred immediately after the Supper, and after witnessing the agony of Christ in the garden.
4. Peter's denial was in the face of his own protestations to the contrary, and of Christ's recent and explicit warning.
5. Peter's denial was aggravated by repetition, and at each repetition he contracted deeper guilt.
6. This sin of Peter was committed in the very presence and hearing of the Lord.
II. YET, WITH ALL THESE AGGRAVATIONS, THE SIN OF PETER MUST BE DISCRIMINATED FROM THAT OF JUDAS.
1. For instance, Peter's sin was sudden, under strong temptation; while the sin of Judas was deliberate and long-premeditated.
2. Then, too, the motives by which the two were prompted — Peter, by a natural fear and the instinctive love of life; Judas, by the most sordid of all the passions that move the human heart — the base love of gold.
3. In Peter's case there was no heart-denial of his Lord; it was only of the lips.
4. In Peter there was only the suppression of his discipleship.
III. CONSIDER THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TWO MEN AFTER THEY ARE BROUGHT TO A RECOGNITION OF THEIR GUILT.
1. Judas is judicially abandoned; Peter, only temporarily deserted.
2. In the case of Judas there was only remorse; in that of Peter, sincere repentance.
3. In Judas there was a total and final rejection of Christ; in Peter, a loving return to Him.
4. Judas sealed his guilt by his suicide; Peter sealed his repentance by a life of consecration to his Master's service.Concluding reflections:
1. You have the plainest evidence, in all the actions of Judas and of Peter, that they were flee and responsible, acting under the power of motives.
2. We see in Peter's fall the wonderful discipline by which he was graciously prepared for his work, revealing to us that paradox of the gospel, how grace, in its power, brings evil out of good, and transmutes the poor, fallen, erring sinner into the accepted messenger of God.
3. These two, Judas and Peter, are the types, respectively, of the only two classes of sinners. The difference between sinner and saint is found in the behaviour of the two in respect to their sins — the one persisting in it, the other weeping bitterly.
(B. M. Palmer, D. D.).
Parallel VersesKJV: And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.