The Wrong Kind of Confidence

Peter Barnes: John 18:15-27

(23 June 2019)


In the Synoptic Gospels the three denials are brought together (Matt.26; Mark 14; Luke 22), but John separates the first denial (John 18:15-18) from the last two (John 18:25-27). Harold Lindsell said that Peter denied Jesus six times!

1. Peter’s misplaced confidence.

– John 13:36-38; Matt.26:35.

– John 15:3; the sin of a believer. Proverbs 16:18 is relevant. There is genuine faith and love in Peter, but he is too confident in his own faith and love. Jesus’ warning in Luke 22:31-32.

2. Peter’s threefold failure.

– 18:15-16. If Salome was John’s mother (Mark 15:40; Matt.27:56) and also Mary’s sister (John 19:25), John had priestly connections for Mary was related to Elizabeth (Luke 1:5, 36) That is, Peter’s companion was very probably John. It was not strange for a Galilean fisherman to know the high priest. All rabbis were expected to also have a trade – note Paul and his tent-making.

– 18:17-18, 25-27. This surely has all the hallmarks of an eyewitness. Once sin has a foot in the door, it tends to go further. Three times Jesus had told His accusers ‘I am’ (18:5, 6, 8), and three times Peter tells his inquirers ‘I am not.’

3. God sees all and knows all.

– 18:27b. Jesus had prophesied this – John 13:38; like 2 Sam.11:27c. Even the rooster crows at the command of the God who sees all and knows all.

– Kim Yoonsup, a Korean evangelist, denied he was a Christian to his Japanese torturers but was later restored. John 21:15-17.