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Verses of Luke 22

54

Luke 22:54 Commentary - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

This paragraph of the chapter gives us an account of the fall and rising of Peter: of his sin in denying his Master, and of his recovery by repentance; both must be considered distinctly.

First, touching his sin and fall; there are four particulars observable relating thereunto; namely, the sin itself, the occasion of that sin, the reiteration and repetition of it, and the aggravating circumstances attending it.

Observe, 1. The sin itself, the denial of Christ Jesus his Lord and Master, I know not the man; and this backed with an oath, he sware that he knew him not. Lord, how may the slavish fear of suffering drive the holiest and best of men to commit the foulest and worst of sins!

Observe, 2. The occasions leading to this sin, and they were these:

1. His following Christ afar off. To follow Christ was the effect of Peter's faith; but to follow him afar off at this time, was the fruit of fear, and the effect of frailty. Woe unto us when temptation comes, if we be far from Christ's gracious presence and assistance.

2. His being in bad company, amongst Christ's enemies: would we escape temptations to sin, we must then decline such company as would allure and draw us into sin. Peter had better have been acold by himself alone, than warming himself at a fire which was encompassed in with the blasphemies of the multitude; where his conscience, though not seared, was yet made hard.

Another grand occasion of Peter's falling was, a presumptous confidence of his own strength and standing: Though all men forsake thee, yet will not I. Oh Lord, to presume upon ourselves, is the ready way to provoke thee to leave us to ourselves; if ever we stand in the day of trial, it is the fear of falling must enable us to stand. We soon fall, if we believe it impossible to fall.

Observe, 3. The reiteration and repetition of this sin, he denied Christ again and again; he denies him first with a lie, then with an oath, and next with a curse. Lord, how dangerous is it not to resist the first beginnings of sin! If we yield to one temptation, Satan will assault us with more and stronger. Peter proceeded from a denial to a lie; from a lie to an oath; from an oath to an imprecation or curse. It is our wisdom vigorously to resist sin at the beginning; for then we have most power, and sin has least.

Observe, 4. The heinous and aggravating circumstances of St. Peter's sin; and they are these:

1. The character of his person; a disciple, an apostle, a chief apostle, a special favorite, who with James and John had the special honor to be with Christ at his transfiguration: yet he denies Christ.

2. The person whom he denies; his Master, his Saviour, and Redeemer. He, that in great humility had washed Peter's feet, had eaten the passover with Peter, had given but just before the holy sacrament to Peter; yet is this kind and condescending Saviour denied by Peter.

3. Consider the persons before whom he denied Christ; the chief priest's servants. Oh how surprising, and yet very pleasing was it to them, to see one disciple betray and sell his Master, and another disown and deny him!

4. Consider the time when he denied him; it was but a few hours after he had received the holy sacrament from Christ's own hands. How unreasonable then is their objection against coming to the Lord's table, that some who go to it dishonor Christ as soon as they come from it: such examples ought not to discourage us from coming to the ordinance, but should excite and increase our watchfulness, after we have been there, that our after deportment may be suitable to the solemnmity of a sacramental table.

Observe, 5. What a small temptation he lay under thus shamefully to deny his Lord and Master: a damsel only at first spake to him. Had a band of armed soldiers appeared to him, and apprehended him: had he been bound and led away to the judgment hall, and there threatened with the sentence of an ignominious death, some excuse might have been made better for him: but to disown his relation to Christ upon a word spoken by a sorry maid that kept the door; the smallness of the temptation was an high aggravation of the crime. Ah Peter: how little did thou answer thy name at this time! Thou art not now a rock, but a reed, a pillar blown down by a woman's breath. Oh frail humanity, whose strength is weakness and infirmity.

Note here, that in most of the saints' falls recorded in scripture, the first enticers to sin, or the accidental occasions of it, were women; witness (besides the first fall, that of Adam's, where the woman was first in the transgression) the fall of Lot, Samson, David, Solomon, and Peter; these are sad instances of the truth of what I speak.

A weak creature may be a strong tempter; nothing is to impotent or useless for the devil's service; it was a great aggravation of Peter's sin, that the voice of a poor maid that kept the door should be of more force to overcome him, than his faith in Jesus to sustain him. But what shall we say? Small things are sufficient to cast us down, if God does not help us up: we sink under any burden, if God sustain us not; and yield to the least temptation, if he leaves us to ourselves; a damsel shall then make a disciple shrink, and a door-keeper shall be able to drive an apostle before her. This is the account, in short, of St. Peter's fall, considered in itself, and with the circumstances relating to it.

Now follows his recovery and rising again by repentance; and here we have observable, the suddenness of St. Peter's repentance, the means of his repentance, and the manner of his repentance.

Observe, 1. The suddenness of St. Peter's repentance: as his sin was sad, so was his repentance speedy; sin committed by surprise, and through the prevalency of a temptation that suddenly assaults us, is much sooner repented of, than where the sin is presumptuous and deliberate. David's murder and adultery lay almost twelve months, without any solemn repentance for them. St. Peter's denial was hasty and sudden, under a violent pang and passion of fear, and he takes the warning of the cock's crowing, to go forth speedily and weep for his transgressions.

Observe, 2. The means of his repentance, which was two-fold: the less principal means was the crowing of the cock: the more principal means were Christ's looking upon Peter, and Peter remembering the words of Christ.

1. The less principal means of St. Peter's rising and recovery by repentance, was the crowing of the cock: as the voice of the maid occasioned him to sin, so the voice of the cock occasioned him to reflect. That God who always can work without means, can ever, when he pleases, work by weak and contemptible means, and open the mouth of a bird or a beast for the conversion of a man. But why does our Lord make use of the crowing of a cock, as a means of bringing St. Peter to repentance? There is ever some mystery in Christ's institutions and instruments; the cock was a preacher, to call St. Peter to his duty, there being something of emblem between a cock and a preacher; the preacher ought to have the wings of the cock, to rouse himself from drowsiness and security, and to awaken others to a sense of their duty; he must have the watchfulness of the cock, to be ever ready to discover and forewarn danger; he must have the voice of the cock, terrify the roaring lion of hell, and make him tremble, as they say the natural lion does; in a word, he must observe the hours of the cock, to crow at at all seasons; to preach the word in season and out of season.

Again, 2. The more principal means of St. Peter's recovery were Christ's looking upon Peter, and Peter's remembering the words of Christ.

1. Christ's looking upon Peter; our Saviour looked upon Peter, before either Peter looked upon our Saviour or upon himself. Oh wonderful act of love and grace towards this fallen disciple. Christ was now upon his trial for his life, (a time when our thoughts would have been wholly taken up about ourselves,) but even then did Christ find leisure to think upon Peter, to remember his disconsolate disciples, to turn himself about and give him a pitiful but piercing look, even a look that melted and dissolved him into tears. We never begin to lament our sins till we are first lamented by our Saviour; Jesus looked upon Peter, that was the first more principal means of his repentance.

But, 2. The other means was Peter's remembering the words of the Lord, Before the cock crow thou shalt deny me. Now this remembrance was an applicative and feeling remembrance; he remembered the prediction of Christ, and applied it sensibly to himslf; teaching us, that the efficacy of Christ's words, in order to sound repentance, depends not upon the historical remembrance of it, but upon the close application of it to everyman's conscience.

Observe, 3. The manner of St. Peter's repentance; it was secret, it was sincere, it was lasting, and abiding.

1. It was secret; he went out and wept; he sought a place of retirement, where he might mourn in secret; solitariness is most agreeable to an afflicted spirit; yet I must add, that as St. Peter's sorrow, so probably his shame, might cause him to go forth and weep. Christ looked upon him, and how ashamed must he be to look upon Christ, seeing he had so lately denied that he had ever seen him!

2. St. Peter's repentance was sincere; he wept bitterly: his grief was extraordinary, and his tears abundant; there is always a weeping that must follow sin; sin must cost the soul sorrow, either here or in hell; we must now either mourn awhile, or lament forever. Doubtless St. Peter's tears were joined with hearty confessions of sin to God, and smart reflections on himself, after this manner: "Lord! What have I done? I a disciple, I an apostle, I that did so lately acknowledge my Master to be Christ the Lord, I that spoke with so much assurance, Though all men deny thee, yet will not I; I that promised to lay down my life for his sake; yet have I denied him, yet have I, with oaths and imprecations, disowned him, and this at the voice of a damsel, not at the sight of a drawn sword presented at my breast. Lord! What weakness, what wickedness, what unfaithfulness, have I been guilty of! Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep all my days for the fault of this one night!" Thus may we suppose our lapsed apostle to have bemoaned himself; and happy was it for them, that he did so; for blessed are the tears of a converted revolter, and happy is the misery of a mourning offender.

Observe, 3. St. Peter's repentance was not only secret and sincere, but lasting and abiding; he retained a very quick sense, and lively remembrance, of this sin, upon his mind all his life after.

Ecclesiastical history reports, that ever after, when St. Peter heard the crowing of the cock, he fell upon his knees and wept.

Others say, that he was wont to rise at midnight, and spent his time in prayer and humiliation, between cock-crowing and daylight: and the papists, who delight to turn every thing into folly and superstition, first began that practice of setting up, what we call weather-cocks upon towers and steeples, to put people in mind of St. Peter's fall and repentance by that signal.

Lastly, St. Peter's repentance was an extraordinary zeal and forwardness for the service of Christ to the end of his days. He had a burning love towards the holy Jesus ever after, which is now improved into a seraphic flame; Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee, says he himself, Joh 21:17 And as an evidence of it, he fed Christ's sheep; for, in the Acts of the apostles, we read of his extraordinary diligence to spread the gospel, and his travels in order thereunto, are computed by some to be nine hundred and fifty miles.

To end all, have any of us fallen with Peter, though not with a formal abjuration, yet by a practical denying of him? Let us go forth and weep with him; let us be more vigilant and watchful over ourselves for the time to come; let us express more fervent love and zeal for Christ, more diligence in his service, more concernedness for his honor and glory: this would be an happy improvement of his example: God grant it may have that blessed effect!

Verses of Luke 22

54

Consult other comments:

Luke 22:54 - The Greek Testament

Luke 22:54 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Luke 22:54 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 22:54 - Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Luke 22:54 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Luke 22:54 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Luke 22:54 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

Luke 22:54 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Luke 22:54 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Luke 22:54 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Luke 22:54 - The Expositor’s Greek Testament by Robertson

Luke 22:54 - F.B. Meyer's Through the Bible Commentary

Luke 22:54 - Discovering Christ In Selected Books of the Bible

Luke 22:54 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Luke 22:54 - McGarvey and Pendleton Commentaries (New Testament)

Luke 22:54 - Geneva Bible Notes

Luke 22:54 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Luke 22:54 - William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 22:54 - Godet Commentary (Luke, John, Romans and 1 Corinthians)

Luke 22:54 - Henry Alford's Greek Testament

Luke 22:54 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Luke 22:54 - Commentaries on the New Testament and Prophets

Luke 22:54 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Luke 22:54 - A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by Lange

Luke 22:54 - Expositions Of Holy Scripture by Alexander MacLaren

Luke 22:54 - Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer's New Testament Commentary

Luke 22:54 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Luke 22:54 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Luke 22:54 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Luke 22:54 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

Luke 22:54 - Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Luke 22:54 - Ryle's Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

Luke 22:54 - A Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Luke 22:54 - Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Luke 22:54 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Luke 22:54 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Luke 22:54 - You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley

Luke 22:54 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Luke 22:54 - Combined Bible Commentary

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament