Walking Through Denial (Peter)
Thesis: Jesus restores us when we make mistakes (even denying we know him)
Matthew 26:69-75 (NLT): Peter Denies Jesus
69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.
73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
John 21: 14-91 (NLT) Jesus Restore Peter
14 This was the third time Jesus had appeared to his disciples since he had been raised from the dead.
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
- Matthew 14: 25-32: Peter Walking on Water
- Matthew: 16: 21-23 Peter reprimands Jesus
- Matthew 17: 1-8 The Transfiguration
- Matthew 26:31-35 (NLT): Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
Leader: Here is quick article to read ahead of time on Peter…
Opening activity: Catch Phrase, Taboo, or Blurt.
These are great games to play where people have to shout things out, often without thinking. (Let me know if you need access to any of these games, and I will try to get them to you)
Put Your Foot In Your Mouth:
To say something foolish, tactless, or offensive, usually without meaning to. To say something that you regret.
- Video 1: Understanding the idiom: youtube.com/watch?v=QQv1YUwIkEU (note: It says OMG)
- Video2: Seeing it literally (gross): youtube.com/watch?v=HYGR4Rqd5kw
Icebreaker: Share a time when you put your foot in your mouth. How did you feel? How did you try to get past the embarrassment?
Do you know anyone who perpetually puts their foot in their mouth? (someone who is always saying foolish things with out thinking).
Jesus’ disciple Peter was born with his foot in his mouth. Here are some examples: (Leaders, you can discuss each individually, divide into smaller groups and have each group look at one, or choose 2 to discuss. Either way, make certain you discuss the last one.
Matthew 14: 25-32: Peter Walking on Water, Matthew: 16: 21-23 Peter reprimands Jesus, Matthew 17: 1-8 The Transfiguration, & Matthew 26:31-35 (NLT): Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
- How does Peter put his foot in his mouth?
- Why does Peter put his foot in this mouth?
- How does Jesus respond to Peter?
- What does these examples say about Peter’s character?
- What do they say about his relationship with Jesus?
Read Matthew 26:69-75
- Why does Peter deny knowing Jesus?
- Why does he become more insistent in his denial?
- What emotion do you think flood Peter after he hears the rooster crow?
- How do you think you would respond if you were in that situation?
Connecting Personally (Leaders do your best to have a story ready to share of a time you denied knowing Jesus)
- Have you ever denied knowing Jesus (being a Christian)?
- Why did you deny knowing Jesus (or being Christian)?
- How do you feel after denying Jesus?
- What is the root of denying Jesus? (fear) Why was Peter afraid? Why were you afraid? Why should we not be afraid?
2 Timothy 1:7-8a For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.
- Why is that easier said than done?
Jesus Restores Peter:
- How do you think Peter felt after denying Jesus?
- How do you think he felt when he heard Jesus was dead?
- How do you think he felt when he head Jesus tomb was empty?
- How do you think he felt when Jesus visited them in the upper room?
Say: After the second time Jesus appeared to the disciples, Peter and his friend decided to return to what they knew, fishing,. (see John 21:1-3) Then Jesus shows up with breakfast (verse 4). After Breakfast Jesus has a heart to heart with Peter.
Read John 21: 14-21
- What does Jesus ask Peter?
- What is Peter’s answer?
- What is Jesus’s response to Peter?
- Why does Jesus ask him the 3 times?
- How do you think this conversation revives Peter’s faith and relationship with Jesus?
- How does this conversation prepare him for his future?
- What does this conversation say about Jesus love and forgiveness?
Read and discuss the Peter Principle:
The Peter Principle by Margaret Minnicks: hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/The-Peter-Principle
Understanding Peter helps us to understand the Peter Principle.
- Peter was not perfect. And neither are we. But we serve a perfect God.
- Peter learned from his mistakes and became a changed man. In every one of the instances where people said Peter put his foot in his mouth, Peter was man enough to admit he had made a mistake. Peter had a teachable spirit.
You see, the Peter Principle doesn’t tell us to mess up. However, the Peter Principle lets us know that when we mess up we can confess and God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Peter messed up royally. But we see what happened to him in the end.
Peter made mistakes, but he was used to do a lot for the kingdom of God. We made mistakes, but we serve a God with a big eraser. If we ask for forgiveness, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Our name might not be Peter, but I am sure he doesn’t mind if we use the Peter Principle!
- How does the Peter Principle bring us comfort and encouragement when we make mistakes? (Jesus offers love and forgiveness)
- How does the Peter Principle challenge us when we make mistakes? (We need to admit our mistakes and learn from them. Have a teachable spirit)
The Peter Principle Condensed
Peter was not perfect, yet he learned from his mistakes and became a changed man. In every one of the instances where people said Peter put his foot in his mouth, Peter was man enough to admit he had made a mistake. Peter had a teachable spirit.
The Peter Principle lets us know that when we mess up we can confess and God will forgive and restore us. We make mistakes, but we serve a God with a big eraser. If we ask for forgiveness, He will cleanse and restore us.
Watch the Peter Video from the Living Lord’s Supper.
- How can we find inspiration in our Walk with Jesus through the example of Peter?
PRAYER TIME: Individually or as a group.
- Confess that you have denied Jesus
- Ask Jesus to forgive and restore
- Ask that he will use that to help you grow in your faith, and to help others as well