The Disciples Fall
THE DISCIPLES FALL
One of the things that a disciple of Christ is supposed to do is he is supposed to live a life that manifests himself as a disciple of Christ.
- He supposed to be loyal to Christ.
- Faithful to Christ.
- Obedient to Christ.
- He is supposed to live a life of righteousness.
But what about those times when we as disciples stumble?
- What then?
- What happens when a disciple stumbles? Sins?
- Is he without hope?
- Is it a “one shot deal” and if you blow it is it over?
- What does the Lord do when a disciple stumbles?
- What should a disciple do when He stumbles?
Well, this morning, Christ and His disciples are going to give us some insights to these questions.
- In addition, we will learn of a very present danger that exists for any disciple of Christ.
- Let’s begin in verse 30.
In the verses just prior to this Jesus has just initiated what we call the “Lord’s Supper” with His disciples.
- And after eating of that supper, and after singing a hymn, He and His disciples go east of the city to the Mount of Olives.
And Jesus speaks and He tells His disciples a little more about what is going to take place in the next several hours.
- And He tells them that they will “all fall away” just as the prophet Zachariah had said hundreds of years before.
- Now don’t misunderstand and think that their “falling away” was preordained and that they had no choice in the matter.
- That is not the case.
- When Jesus says that they would “all fall away because it is written”, what you are seeing here is the fulfillment of what God foreknew would happen way back in the days of the prophet.
- So Jesus is simply saying that God already knew what was going to happen.
So He tells them that they will “all fall away”, and that He would be “struck down”…and then afterward He would be raised….and after He has been raised, He will go before them to Galilee.”
But Peter takes exception to what Jesus has said.
- In vs. 33 he says, “Even though all may fall away….and the phrase “fall away” literally means “to stumble.”
- He says, “Even though all may stumble, I will not!”
- He says, “The rest of them might stumble, but not me!”
And Jesus tells him, “Peter, this very night, before a cock crows you shall deny me three times.”
But Peter continues to disagree, and he insists that “he would die with Jesus, before he would deny Him.”
Now, let me make a couple of quick points and the lesson is yours.
First of all, PETER DIDN’T FOLLOW THROUGH WITH WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO. THEREFORE, PETER STUMBLED. Vs. 31.
- And the thing I think we need to see is how it happened.
You see, while Peter was with Christ…he was strong and confident.
- “He would never deny Christ.”
Even when they came out to arrest Jesus down in verse 50, John 18:10 tells us that Peter pulls out a sword…and cuts off the “ear of the high priest’s slave” in an effort to defend Christ.
So up to that point, Peter still seems strong and confident.
But look at verse 57….Jesus is removed from Peter.
- Jesus isn’t there for Peter to draw strength and courage from.
And look who He is with in verse 58.
- He is with the officers or servants of the high priest.
- Servants of those who want to kill Jesus.
And look at verse 69…Peter is in the courtyard and one of the high priest’s servant’s girls sees Peter warming himself at a fire…and she puts him on the spot!
- “You, too, were with Jesus.”
- And he denies it; vs. 70.
And in verse 71, another servant girl does the same thing; “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
And again, Peter denies it; vs. 72.
And then in vs. 73, the bystanders say it again, “Surely you too are one of them.”
- And this time Peter begins to curse and swear and he says, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”
What in the world happened to Peter?
- In just a matter of a few hours all the confidence and resolve that he had is gone! Why?
Peter loses his confidence and his resolve because he is separated from Christ and the other disciples…and he is among those who give him no strength…and no encouragement.
- In fact, they only weaken his resolve.
- It was easy for him to be strong when he was with Christ.
- It was easy for him to be courageous when he was around the other disciples.
- But when he was separated from Christ….and “scattered” from the other disciples…all of his confidence and resolve were gone.
And that is just exactly what Satan wants to do to each of you…and unfortunately has done to some of us.
- Satan wants to separate you from Christ.
- If he Satan can separate you from the vine…
- If he can keep you from talking to Him in prayer…and keep you from His word.
- If he can distract you and get you to thinking about yourself more than about Christ.
- If he can separate you from the other disciples…if he can get you to quit coming to the assemblies where you are strengthened by your brothers and sisters in Christ.
- If he can get you to associate more with the world than with the saints.
- If he can do that…He can get you to “stumble too.”
You see, there is nothing that Satan wants more than to get you off by yourself away from Christ and your brethren…because if he can do that…he can destroy your confidence and resolve too.
- He can take a man who once said, “I will die before I deny Christ” and make him say, “I do not know what you are talking about.”
Satan works in different ways.
- Here, Satan separated Peter from Christ in one quick act.
- Many times Satan works slowly…more subtly.
- You miss for this…and you miss for that…then it is easier and easier.
If you aren’t spending time in prayer…if you aren’t spending time in His word…if you are only hit and miss in assembling with the saints….if you are doing those things…Satan is getting you to do just exactly what he wants you too.
Now, let’s look at some good news. Look at verse 31 again. Jesus tells His disciples…these men who walked with Him, learned from Him…and ate with Him…”that they would all stumble.”
- And they did!
- And if they did, we will too.
- John says in 1 John 1:8 that if we say we won’t then we are liars and the truth is not in us.
Jesus knew that they could not be perfect enough and neither can we.
- So what happens when a disciple of Christ stumbles?
- When we are untrue…when we are unfaithful?
- Is if all over for us? Are we without hope?
- When we get out here and we stumble….
- When we deny Christ so we can make a little more money…
- Or when we deny Christ so we can fit in with a certain group of people or impress someone.
- Or when we deny Christ in order to satisfy some desire or appetite.
- When we get out here and deny Christ and stumble…is all hope gone?
Well look at verse 32 again. This is interesting.
- Jesus tells these men that “They will all fall away…that He will be struck…but then He says, “after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Jesus doesn’t say, “You guys denied me so after I am raised I’m not going to have anything to do with you!”
Instead He says, “I will go before you to Galilee.”
- Jesus is still offering to lead them…and be with them…and have fellowship with them…in spite of the fact that they stumbled.
Just because we stumble…and we will…doesn’t mean that you are without hope.
- Every one of us is going to stumble at some time and Jesus knows that.
- And because of His mercy and His grace He continues to offer fellowship to us.
But notice something else here.
- The only way that He can “go before them is if they go themselves.”
- You see, these guys stumble…and fall…but they don’t stay there!
- They get up and follow Jesus again.
You see, that is the key!
- Everyone of us is going to “stumble and fall” at some time or another.
- Jesus knows that!
- But what makes a difference is what we do when we do stumble.
- If we get up…and come back and resume our walk and let Christ lead us again…then nothing is lost.
But if we stumble…and stay down there…and refuse to come back to Christ and follow Him…then we have no fellowship with Him…and we, just like Judas, are doomed to destruction.
Turn with me to 1 John 1: 7.
John says, “If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.”
But now notice the next part of the verse. He says: “…and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses (that is continuous action) us from all sin.
- Your walk will not be perfect!
- You will sin…you will stumble and you will fall.
- And don’t think you won’t because verse 8 here says to deny it makes you a liar.
- So, you will stumble.
But notice, “the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin!”
- As a result, fellowship with Christ is never broken.
- It is not broken unless you fail to resume your walk…unless you fail to walk according to His world…unless you fail to follow His lead.
Now go back to Matthew 26:32. Jesus says, “But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
- Do you know what is interesting about what Jesus says here in this verse?
- He tells these men before they ever fall, that He will lead them again.
- You see, He knew their character!
- He knew that these men had the kind of character that, even though they would fall, they would get back up.
Do you have the same kind of character?
- Do you have character enough to get back up after you fall and do what is right and follow Jesus?
- Or is your character such that you can’t or won’t recover from the fall.
These men fall, and then they follow Jesus again.
- And when they do, they are stronger than ever before!
- In fact, these men will follow Jesus, and they will fulfill what Peter said he would do here in this passage.
- Every one of them will die before they ever deny Jesus again.
Why would they do that? What made them so determined the second time?
- Perhaps the fact that, in spite of what they did, Jesus took them back again.
Hopefully, the fact that Jesus takes us back too will cause us to be even more determined than ever….to follow Jesus…even to the point of death.
© Sunset Ridge Church of Christ 2023