““At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered that the Lord
had said, “Before the rooster crows twice you will deny me three times.” And Peter left
the courtyard, and wept bitterly”” (Luke 22:61-62). That was the turning point for Peter. Jesus
had said in John 13:36, “Thou canst not follow Me now.” He wasn’t fit to follow, because he was
not yet brought to the end of himself. After he had wept bitterly, however, a great change took
place in Peter’s heart.
Jesus had said in Luke22:32, “When thou are converted Peter, strengthen thy brethren.”
Here is the place where Peter was converted from self unto Christ. We have to come to
that same place in our lives where we are converted from self unto Christ. We may be a
Christian like Peter was, but something different has to take place in us.
Thank God for Peter as an example to us. He is a great comfort to us because he failed so
often. Yet what he became, by the power of the Holy Spirit, gives us great hope that this
can happen to us as well. Before Peter could be filled with the Holy Spirit, making him a
new man, he had to see his failure then go out and weep bitterly. Peter had to be humbled.
Peter was a devoted disciple of Jesus. He was a man of absolute surrender. He was called
to forsake his net and to follow Jesus; which he did at once. He could say, “we have for-
saken all and followed thee” (Matt 19:27). He had given up all. He was a man of ready
obedience. Jesus had said, “Launch into the deep and let down thy net” (John 21:6).
Now Peter knew that there were no fish there, since he had been fishing that area all night
and caught nothing, but he said, “at thy word I will let down the net” (Luke 5:5). He was
submitted to the Word of Jesus out of obedience. Peter was a man of great faith. When he
recognized that it was Jesus walking on the water, he cried out “Lord, if it be thou –bid me
come unto thee” (Matt 14:28). Hearing the voice of Jesus, he stepped out of the boat and
began to walk on the water with his Lord. Peter had many spiritual insights. When Jesus
asked the disciples who people were saying He was, Peter was the one who spoke up and
said, “Thou are the Christ the Son of the Living God” (Matt 16:16). Jesus, then spoke of
Peter as the Rock and told him that he would be given the keys to the kingdom. Peter was
a splendid man, a devoted disciple, one of the inner circle, an advanced Christian, and yet
there was still so much lacking in Peter’s character.
Immediately after Jesus said that Peter would be given the keys to the kingdom and had
praised Peter for his recognition of whom Jesus is, Jesus tells of the suffering that He must
go through. Peter says, “Be it far from thee Lord!” Jesus says, “…Get behind me, Satan!
You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things
of men” (Matt16:23). There was Peter in his self-will trusting his own wisdom, forbidding
Jesus to die. Why? Because He trusted in himself! He thought he knew divine things. He
was found among those arguing with each other over who would be the greatest in heaven
seeking his own honor above others. Yes Peter had left his boats and nets, but not his old
Following these words, “Get thee behind me Satan…” Jesus says, “If any man will come after
me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me” (Matt.16:24). Self must be
denied. We cannot follow unless we deny ourselves. There is an inward struggle between
the old man and the new man. Romans 7 speaks about the fact that there is a constant war
going on inside until we die, but we must ignore the clamoring of our old man by recognizing
it when it arises, and choosing to follow after the Spirit and His ways instead. This is painful
to us, and we oftentimes choose to follow the flesh instead, because it is so much easier, but
following the flesh is not going to transform us or please our Father.
Peter did not understand that he was self-confident. The Scripture says, “Peter said unto
him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Jesus
answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, the
cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice” (John 13:37-38). He had good intentions
and meant it sincerely, but Peter did not know himself! He was relying upon his own strength
to resist temptation. He still had self as the ruler of his heart and thought that his self confid-
ence and fortitude would be able to sustain him through anything. Peter didn’t realize that
the old man (sin nature or flesh) still ruled and thus he denied the Lord, not only once but
three times. It is either the self inside one’s heart, or self-denial through the work of the
Holy Spirit, that is going to have its way in our lives. Death to self and self denial (starving
it until it no longer clamors for our will to be done) is the only way to beat this flesh of ours
in order to be overcomers.
Peter denied Jesus 3 times and even cursed! Soon after that incident, Jesus LOOKED at
Peter! This look broke his heart and his eyes were opened to see the terrible sin he had
committed. He had denied His Lord with whom he had walked with for three years. He
had denied the one who he had previously declared to be the “Son of the Living God.” Peter
was broken by his denial and went out weeping bitterly. Imagine how he felt all that night,
and the following day when the Jews crucified Jesus. Peter must have felt despair, hope-
lessness and shame, thinking my Lord is gone, my hope is gone, and I denied Him!
This juncture was Peter’s Turning Point and Point of Change! After the resurrection, Jesus
asked Peter three times if he loved Him. This reminded Peter of each time he had denied
the Lord. In sorrow and in pain he responded to Jesus saying, “Lord thou knowest all
things—thou knowest I love thee!”
Then came Peter’s Transformation! Now he was prepared for deliverance from self!
When the Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 in the Upper Room and they were all
filled with the Holy Spirit, which brought about a complete change in Peter, his whole
nature was transformed! The work that Jesus had done in Peter’s life began with the
LOOK (after the denial) and was perfected when Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit.
After that point of transformation, instead of denying Christ, Peter is found saying,
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and
of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is
glorified” (I Peter 4:14). Now he finds joy and pleasure in self-denial, and eventually
being crucified for his beloved Lord.
Remember Peter’s self-exaltation? In contrast to that, he now says, “Put on the
ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” “Be clothed with humility.” Peter was no
longer self-pleasing, self-seeking, self-trusting, full of sin, continually getting into
trouble, foolish and impetuous. Instead Peter is filled with the Spirit and the life
of Jesus Christ.
Christ had done this by the power of the Holy Spirit! This story is a history of every
believer who was or is ready to be made a blessing for God. It is a lesson to us of what
every believer can RECEIVE and become for God. We may be very earnest, godly &
devoted to Christ, but the flesh is still very strong. Peter could cast out devils and
heal the sick, but his flesh still had power and room in his life. God cannot work
through us as mightily as He wants to, because of the hindrance of SELF. We must
be emptied of our own will so that we can be filled with His!
Every failing comes out of self: pride, presumption, self-confidence, impetuousness,
self-righteousness and more. We must cry out to God to expose and reveal our sin
to us (and our self will). When that occurs and, we see our “self”, as we really are, and
then we feel utterly ashamed; driven to a deep repentance and brokenness before the
Lord (in sorrow and in pain) for the sins of self that we have committed. After God
reveals our sinful “self” to us, deliverance from self can occur. Praise the Lord!
I remember that I had a terrible temper and would blow up and say hurtful things
when my will would be crossed. I used to wonder how God could put up with me.
I was not brought to a true repentance of my sin until one day after I’d blown up at
my husband, resulting in his leaving for a drive. Once again, I could see the terrible
contradiction in my life. How could I claim to be a Christian and act like this I asked
myself? Crying out, “Oh God! How can I truly be saved? A true Christian doesn’t act
like this, and I do it over and over again. Am I really saved? Dear God, I don’t want
to be like this anymore. I can’t stand myself! Lord, you said in Your Word that “if we
confess our sins, you are faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to CLEANSE us
from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). Well Lord, I am asking you now with all my
heart! I confess my sin before you and I ask you to please forgive me and cleanse
me from this terrible sin that I commit over and over again! I plead the Blood of Jesus
over me right now and ask for the cleansing blood of Jesus to wash me and cover me
with His righteousness! I need Your deliverance from MYSELF Dear God!”
From that day forward, I have not had that anger. Those words coming forth from
my temper that I was plagued with before rarely occur. I feel changed, I am changed
and I have been delivered. But we must become DESPERATE and SICK of ourselves
and our sin, to bring us to that point of REALLY crying out with all our hearts to be
forgiven and cleansed. At that point of desperation HE WILL do it! We must become
like Peter, when he saw his great sin of denying Jesus, went out and wept bitterly over it.
It’s not good enough to just say, “I’m sorry”, to God or to the one you offended. It must
be a heart felt, truly deep repentance of, “Oh God, I can’t stand myself any longer or this
terrible sin that seems to have me bound, please please come my blessed Lord and set
this captive free – from my sin of self, temper or whatever it may be that is your besetting
sin. I can’t do it myself! I need You!”
Jesus is waiting to take charge of every heart that will surrender itself to Him! Only Jesus
can rid us of self. I’ve just shown you how to ask Him to do it. What he asks of you is that
you to humble yourself before Him in sincerity and let Him do the work in you.