2620. Christ’s Prayer For Peter

by Charles H. Spurgeon on November 29, 2018

No. 2620-45:205. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, January 22, 1882, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, April 30, 1899.

But I have prayed for you, so that your faith does not fail. {Lu 22:32}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2035, “Peter After His Restoration” 2036}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2620, “Christ’s Prayer for Peter” 2621}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3178, “Preparatory Prayers of Christ, The” 3179}
   Exposition on Lu 22:1-39 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2514, “Servant of Servants” 2515 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 22:14-46 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2769, “Weakened Christ Strengthened, The” 2770 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 22:7-34,54-62 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2620, “Christ’s Prayer for Peter” 2621 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Lu 22:7-54 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3107, “Christ and His Table Companions” 3108 @@ "Exposition"}

1. Satan has a deadly hatred towards all good men; and they may rest assured that, somewhere or other, he will meet them on their way to the Celestial City. John Bunyan, in his immortal allegory, placed him in one particular spot, and described him as Apollyon straddling across the road, and swearing by his infernal den that the pilgrim should go no further, but that then and there he would spill poor Christian’s blood. But the encounter with Apollyon does not happen in the same place for all pilgrims. I have known some of them to be assailed by him most fiercely at the outset of their march to Zion. Their first days as Christians have been truly terrible for them by reason of the Satanic attacks they have had to endure; but, afterwards, when the devil has left them, angels have ministered to them, and they have had years of peace and joy. You remember that, in the case of our Saviour, no sooner was he baptized than he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In the same way, there are those whose fiercest trials from the adversary come at the beginning of their public ministry. Others meet their greatest conflicts in middle life; when, perhaps, they are too apt to think themselves secure against the assaults of Satan, and to imagine that their experience and their knowledge will suffice to preserve them against his wiles. I know some, like Martin Luther, in whose voyage of life the middle passage has been full of storm and tempest, and they have scarcely known what it was to have a moment’s rest during all that period. Then there have been others, the first part of whose career has been exceptionally calm: their life has been like a sea of glass, scarcely a ripple has been on the waters; and yet, towards the end, the enemy has made up for it, and he has attacked them most ferociously right up to the last. I have known many examples of eminent saints who have had to die sword in hand, and enter heaven — I was about to say, with the marks of their stern convict fresh on them. At any rate, they have been crowned on the battle-field, and have fallen asleep at the close of a tremendous fight.

2. For most of us who are really going to heaven, — I will not say that it is a rule without any exception, but for most of us, at some time or another, we shall know the extreme value of this prayer, “Do not lead us into temptation of any kind, but deliver us from the evil one, who, beyond all others, is especially to be dreaded.” There is little to be gotten out of him, even if we conquer him. He usually leaves some mark of his prowess on us, which we may carry to our graves. It would be better to leap over hill and dale, and to go a thousand miles further on our pilgrim road, than ever to have a conflict with him, except for those great purposes of which I shall presently speak on in a moment. The fight with Apollyon is a terrible ordeal, — an ordeal, however, which a brave Christian will never think of shirking. Indeed, he will rather rejoice that he has an enemy worthy of his steel, that true Damascus blade with which he is armed; and, in the name of God, he will determine, though he does not wrestle with flesh and blood, that he will contend against principalities and powers, and with the very leader of them all, that there may be all the more glory for the great King who makes the weakest of his followers to be so strong that they put the old dragon himself to flight.

3. So, dear friends, rest assured that Satan hates every good man, and that, some time or other, he is pretty sure to show that hatred in a very cruel and deadly attack on him.

4. Further, because of his hatred, Satan earnestly desires to put believers into his sieve, so that he may sift them as wheat; — not that he wants to get the chaff away from them, — but simply that he may agitate them. You see the grain in the sieve, how it goes up and down, to and fro. There is not a single grain of it that is allowed to have a moment’s rest; it is all in commotion and confusion, and the man who is sifting it takes care to sift first one way, and next another way, and then all kinds of ways. Now, that is just what Satan does with those whom he hates, when he gets the opportunity. He sifts them in all kinds of ways, and puts their whole being into agitation and turmoil. When he gets a hold of us, it is a shaking and sifting indeed; he takes care that anything like rest or breathing space shall be denied to us.

5. So Satan desires to sift the saints in his sieve; and, at times, God grants his desire. If you look at the 1881 English Revised Version, in the margin you learn the true idea of Satan having asked, or rather obtained by asking, the power to sift Peter as wheat. God sometimes gives Satan the permission to sift as wheat those who are undoubtedly his people, and then he tosses them to and fro indeed. That record in the Book of Job, of Satan appearing before God, is just repeated in this story of Peter; for the devil had obtained from God liberty to try and test poor boasting Peter. If Christ had not obtained from God, in answer to his intercession, the promise of the preservation of Peter, then it would have gone badly indeed with the self-confident apostle. God grants to Satan permission to test his people in this way, because he knows how he will overrule it for his own glory and their good. There are certain graces which are never produced in Christians, to a high degree, except by severe temptation. “I noticed,” one said, “in what a chastened spirit a certain minister preached when he had been the subject of most painful temptation.” There is a particular tenderness, without which one is not qualified to shepherdize Christ’s sheep, and to feed his lambs, — a tenderness, without which one cannot strengthen his brethren, as Peter was to do later, a tenderness which does not usually come — at any rate, to such a man as Peter, except by his being put into the sieve, and tossed up and down by Satanic temptation.

6. Let that stand as the preface of my sermon, for I shall not have so much to say on that as on another point.

7. First, observe, in our text, the grand point of Satan’s attack. We can see that from the place where Jesus puts the strongest line of defence: “I have prayed for you, so that your faith does not fail.” The point of Satan’s chief attack on a believer, then, is his faith. Observe, secondly, the particular danger of faith:“ So that your faith does not fail.” That is the danger, — not merely lest it should be slackened and weakened, but lest it should fail. And then observe, thirdly, the believer’s grand defence “I have prayed for you, so that your faith does not fail.”

8. I. Notice carefully, in the first place, THE GRAND POINT OF SATAN’S ATTACK.

9. When he assails a child of God, his main assault is on his faith; and I suppose that the reason is, first, because faith is the vital point in the Christian. We are engrafted into Christ by faith, and faith is the point of contact between the believing soul and the living Christ. If, therefore, Satan could manage to cut through the graft just there, then he would defeat the Saviour’s work most completely. Faith is the very heart of true godliness, for “the just shall live by faith.” Take faith away, and you have torn the heart out of the gracious man. Hence, Satan, as far as he can, aims his fiery arrows at a believer’s faith. If he can only destroy faith, then he has destroyed the very life of the Christian. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Therefore, if the devil could only get our faith away from us, we should cease to be pleasing to God, and should cease to be “accepted in the Beloved.” Therefore, brethren, look well to your faith. It is the very head and heart of your being as before God. May the Lord grant that it may never fail you!

10. I suppose that Satan also attacks faith because it is the chief of all our graces. Love, under some aspects, is the choicest; but to lead the vanguard in conflict, faith must come first. And there are some things, which are ascribed solely and entirely to faith, and are never ascribed to love. If any man were to speak of our being justified by love, it would grate on the ears of the godly. If any were to talk about our being justified by repentance, those of us who know our Bible would be up in arms against such a perversion of the truth; but they may speak as long as they like of our “being justified by faith,” for that is a quotation from the Scriptures. In the matter of justification, faith stands alone. It lays hold on Christ’s sacrifice, and his righteousness, and by it the soul is justified. Faith, if I may say so, is the leader of the graces in the day of battle, and hence Satan says to his demonic archers, “Fight neither with small nor great, except only with the king of Israel; shoot at faith, kill it if possible.” If faith is killed, where is love, where is hope, where is repentance, where is patience? If faith is conquered, then it is just like what happens when a standard-bearer faints. The victory is virtually won by the arch-enemy if he is able to conquer faith, for faith is the noble chieftain among the graces of a saint.

11. I suppose, again, that Satan makes a determined onslaught on the faith of the Christian because it is the nourishing grace. All the other graces within us derive strength from our faith. If faith is at a low ebb, love is sure to burn very feebly. If faith should begin to fail, then hope would grow dim. Where is courage? It is a poor puny thing when faith is weak. Take any grace you please, and you shall see that its flourishing depends on the healthy condition of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. To take faith away, therefore, would be to take the fountain away from the stream; it would be to withdraw the sun from its rays if light. If you destroy the source, of course what comes out of it ceases. Therefore, beloved, take the utmost possible care of your faith, for I may truly say of it that out of it are the issues of life for all your graces. Faith is that virtuous woman who clothes the whole household in scarlet, and feeds them all with delicious and strengthening food; but if faith is gone, the household soon becomes naked, and poor, and blind, and miserable. Everything in a Christian fails when faith ceases to nourish it.

12. Next to this, Satan attacks faith because it is the great preserving grace. The apostle says, “Above all,” — that is, “over all,” “covering all,” — “taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery arrows of the wicked.” Sometimes, the Eastern soldiers had shields so large that they were like doors, and they covered the man from head to foot. Others of them, who used smaller shields, nevertheless handled them so deftly, and moved them so rapidly, that it was tantamount to the shield covering the entire person. An arrow is aimed at the forehead, up goes the shield, and the sharp point rings on the metal. A javelin is hurled at the heart, but the shield turns it aside. The fierce foe aims a poisonous arrow at the leg, but the shield intercepts it. Virtually, the shield is all-surrounding; so it is with your faith. As one has well said, “It is armour on armour, for the helmet protects the head, but the shield protects both helmet and head. The breast-plate guards the breast, but the buckler or shield defends the breast-plate as well as the breast.” Faith is a grace to protect the other graces; there is nothing like it, and therefore I do not wonder that Satan attacks faith when he sees its prominent position and its important influence in the entire town of Mansoul.

13. I cannot help saying, also, that I do not wonder that Satan attacks faith, because it is the effective or efficient grace. You know what a wonderful chapter that 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews is; it is a triumphal arch, erected in honour of what? Of faith. According to that chapter, faith did everything; it quenched the fire, stopped the mouths of lions, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, received the dead who were raised, and so on. Faith is the soul’s right hand. Faith works by love; but, still, it is faith that works, and you can do nothing acceptably before God unless you do it by that right hand of faith. Hence, Satan cannot endure faith; he hates that most of all. Pharaoh tried to have all the male children thrown into the river because they were the fighting force of Israel. He did not mind having the women to grow up to bear burdens, it was the men whom he feared. And, in the same way, the devil says, “I must stamp out faith, for that is the secret of strength.” He will not trouble himself so much about your other graces, he will probably attack them when he can; but, first of all he says, “Down with faith! That is the man-child that must be destroyed”; and he aims his sharpest and deadliest arrows at it.

14. I believe, also, that faith is attacked by Satan, most of all, because it is most obnoxious to him. He cannot endure faith. How do I know that? Why, because God loves it; and if God loves faith, and if Christ crowns faith, I am sure that Satan hates it. What are we told concerning the work of Jesus being hindered by unbelief? “He could not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Now, I will turn that text around, and say of Satan, that he cannot do many mighty works against some men because of their faith. Oh, how he sneaks off when he discovers a very strong faith in a man! He knows when he has met his master, and he says, “Why should I waste my arrows on a shield carried by such a man as that? He believes in God, he believes in Christ, he believes in the Holy Spirit; he is more than a match for me.” To those who are under his leadership, he cries, “To your tents!” He tells them to flee away, and escape, for he knows that there can be no victory for them when they come into collision with true God-given faith. He cannot bear to look at it. It blinds him; the lustrous splendour of that great shield of faith, which shines as though a man hung the sun on his arm, and carried it before him into the fray, blinds even the mighty prince of darkness. Satan only glances at it, and immediately he takes to flight, for he cannot endure it. He knows it is the thing which most of all helps to overthrow his kingdom, and to destroy his power; therefore, believer, cling to your faith! Be like the young Spartan warrior, who would either bring his shield home with him, or be brought home dead on his shield. “Do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” Whatever else you do not have, “have faith in God”; believe in the Christ of God; rest your soul’s entire confidence on the faithful promise and the faithful Promiser; and, if you do so, Satan’s attacks on you will all be in vain.

15. That is my first point, — observe the grand point of Satanic attack.

16. II. Now, secondly, observe THE PARTICULAR DANGER OF FAITH: “So that your faith does not fail.”

17. Did Peter’s faith fail? Yes, and no; it failed in a measure, but it did not altogether fail. It failed in a measure, for he was human; but it did not altogether fail, for, behind it, there was the superhuman power which comes through the pleading of Christ. Poor Peter! He denied his Master, yet his faith did not utterly fail; and, I will show you why it did not. If you and I, beloved, are ever permitted to dishonour God, and to deny our Lord, as Peter did, yet may God in mercy keep us from the utter and entire failure of our faith, as he kept Peter!

18. Notice, first, there was still some faith in Peter, even when he had denied his Master, for when the Lord turned, and looked at him, he went out, and wept bitterly. If there still had not been the true faith in Peter, the Master might have looked at him long before a tear would have coursed down his cheeks. The Lord not only looked at Judas, but he gave a sop to him out of the dish; and he even let the traitor put his lips to him, and kiss him; but all that had no weight with Judas. The reason why Christ’s look had such an effect on Peter was because there still was some faith in Peter. You may blow as long as you ever like at the cold coals, and you will get no fire; but I have sometimes see a servant kneel down when there has been just a little flame left in the coal in a corner of the grate, and she has blown it tenderly and gently so as to revive it. “It is not quite out,” she says; and, at last, there has been a good fire once again. May God grant that we may never come to that sad condition; but, if we do, may he, by his grace, grant that there may still be that blessed little faith left, that weak and feeble faith which, through the breathing on it by the Spirit of God, shall still be fanned into a flame!

19. We are sure that there still was this faith in Peter, or else, what would he have done? What did Judas do? Judas did two things; first, he went to a priest, or to priests, and confessed to them, and then he went out, and hung himself; the two things were strangely connected. Peter did neither; yet, if he had not had faith, he might have done both. To publicly deny his Master three times, and to support his denial with oaths and curses, even when that Master was close by, and in his greatest extremity, must have put Peter into most imminent peril; and if there had not been, within his heart, faith that his Master could yet pardon and restore him, he might, in his despair, have done precisely what the traitor Judas did. Or, if he had not gone to that extremity of guilt, he would have hidden himself away from the rest of the disciples. But, instead of doing so, we soon find him again with John; — I do not wonder that he was with John. They were old companions; but, in addition to that, the beloved John had so often leaned his head on the Master’s bosom that he had caught the sweet infection of his Saviour’s tenderness; and, therefore, he was just the one with whom Peter would wish to associate. I think that, if I had ever denied my Lord as Peter did, in that public way, I should have run away, and hid myself from all my former companions; but he did not, you see. He seemed to say to himself, “The Master, with his dear tender heart, can still forgive me, and receive me”; so he clings to the disciples, and especially to John. Indeed, and notice that, on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, Peter was the first disciple to enter the sepulchre; for, though “the other disciple outran Peter,” and reach the grave first, “yet he did not go in” until Peter led the way. “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon,” is a remarkable passage. Paul, writing concerning Christ’s resurrection, says that “he was seen by Cephas,” that is, Peter. There was some special manifestation of our blessed Master to Simon Peter, who was waiting for it, and privileged to witness it; and this showed that his faith was kept from failing through the Saviour’s prayers.

20. Now, beloved, I say no more about Peter, but I speak to you about your own faith. Are you greatly troubled? Then, I pray that your faith may not fail. It is shaken; it is severely tried; but may God grant that it may not fail! Something whispers within your heart, “Give up all religion, it is not true.” To that lie, answer, “Get behind me, Satan; for the religion of Jesus Christ is eternally, assuredly, infallibly true.” Cling to it, for it is your life. Or, perhaps, the fiend whispers, “It is true enough for others; but it is not meant for you, you are not one of the Lord’s people.” Well, if you cannot come to Christ as a saint, come to him as a sinner; if you dare not come as a child to sit at his table, come as a dog to eat the crumbs that fall under it. Only come, and never give up your faith.

21. If the arch-fiend whispers again, “You have been a deceiver; your profession is all a mistake, or a lie,” Say to him, “Well, if it is so, there is still forgiveness in Christ for all who come to God by him.” Perhaps you are coming to the Saviour for the first time; you intend to cast yourself on the blood and merit of Jesus, even if you have never done so before. I pray for you, dear coming one. Oh gracious Saviour, do not let Satan crush out the faith of even the weakest of your people! Blessed Intercessor, plead for that poor trembler, in whom faith is almost dying out! Great High Priest, intercede for him, that his faith may not utterly fail him, and that he may still cling to you!

22. What is to become of us if we have no faith in Jesus? I know that there are some who seem to get along well without it. So may the dogs; so may the wild beasts; they get along well enough without the children’s garments or the children’s bread; but you and I cannot. The moment I am unbelieving, I am unhappy. It is not a vain thing for me to believe in Christ; it is my life, it is my strength, it is my joy. I am a lost man, and it would be better for me if I had never been born, unless I have the privilege of believing. Give up faith? Remember what Satan said concerning Job, “Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has he will give for his life”; and our life is wrapped up in our faith in Christ. We cannot give it up, and we will not give it up. Come on, fiends of hell, or mockers of earth, we will not give it up, we will hold it firmly, for it is part of the very warp and woof of our being. We believe in God, and in his Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; and it is our great concern that our faith should be well guarded and protected, for we know the particular danger to which it is exposed when it is assailed by Satan.

23. III. Now I will close my discourse by speaking, for only a very few minutes, on THE BELIEVER’S GREAT PRESERVATIVE AND DEFENCE.

24. What is the great protection of our faith? Our Saviour’s intercession. Prayer is always good, it is always a blessed thing; but notice that great letter-word in the text, “I have prayed for you.” It is the intercession of Christ that preserves our faith, and there are three things about it which make it precious beyond all price; it is prevalent, prevenient, and pertinent. First, it is prevalent; for, if Jesus pleads, he must prevail. It is prevenient; for, before the temptation comes to Peter, he says, “I have prayed for you. Satan has not obtained, by his asking, the permission to tempt you; but I have already prayed for you.”

25. And, then, it was pertinent; that is, to the point. Christ had prayed the best prayer possible: “so that your faith does not fail.” Peter would not have known that this was to be the chief point of attack by Satan; he might have thought that Satan would attack his love. The Lord seems to hint at his thought about that by saying to him, afterwards, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?” But the Saviour knew that the hottest part of the battle would rage around Fort Faith, and therefore he prayed that the fortress might be well garrisoned, and never be captured by the enemy; and it was not.

26. Whenever I begin to talk to you about the intercession of Christ, I feel inclined to sit down, and let you think, and look up, and listen, until you hear that voice, matchless in its music, pleading, pleading, pleading, with the Father. It would be much better for you to experience it than for me to describe it. It was a blessed thing to hear one’s mother pray; — by accident, as we say, to pass the door that was ajar, and to hear mother pleading for her boy or her girl. It is a very touching thing to hear your child praying for her father, or your wife breathing out her warm desires for her beloved. I do not know anything more charming than to hear, now and then, a stray prayer that was never meant to be heard on earth, but only in heaven; I like such eavesdropping. Oh, but listen! It is Jesus who is praying; he shows his wounds, and pleads the merit of his great sacrifice; and, wonder of wonders, he pleads for me, and for you! Happy man, happy woman, to have our faith preserved by such a mighty preservative as this, — the intercession of Christ!

27. I want you to especially notice that this intercession is the pleading of One who, in the text, seems directly to oppose himself to the great adversary: “Satan has obtained you by asking, so that he may sift you as wheat; but I have obtained you by asking,” (so I will venture to paraphrase it,) “so that your faith does not fail.” There stands Satan; you cannot see him, and you need not want to; but that grim monster, who has made kings and princes tremble, and has plucked angels from their spheres of light, and hurled bright spirits down from heaven to hell, stands there to assail you; and you may well be afraid, for God himself permits him to sift you. Ah! but there also stands the ever-blessed One, before whom an angel, fallen or unfallen, is only a tiny spark compared with the sun; there he stands, girt around the chest with the golden girdle of his faithfulness, robed in the fair white linen of his matchless righteousness, on his head a crown of glory that far outshines all constellations of stars and suns; and HE opposes his divine pleading to the demonic asking of the fallen one. Are you afraid now? It does seem to me unspeakably blessed to see it written here, “Satan has desired to have you so that he may sift you as wheat,” and then to see over the top of it this word, “but I have prayed for you.” Oh, blessed “but!” How it seems to cast the fallen angel back again into the bottomless pit, and to bind him with chains, and set a seal on his prison: “But I have prayed for you.” Tempt on, then, oh devil; tempt at your worst, for there is no fear now when this glorious shield of gold, the intercession of the Saviour, covers the entire person of the poor attacked one! “I have prayed for you, so that your faith does not fail.”

28. And then my last word is this; it is an intercession which is absolutely certain of success. In fact, he who offers it anticipates its success, and discounts it by giving this precept to his servant: “and when you are converted,” — sure pledge, then, that he will be converted, that he will be turned back, however far he wanders, — when you are restored, “strengthen your brethren.” Then, for certain, he will be restored, or else the Saviour would not have given him a precept which could only be available if a certain, unlikely contingency should occur. Oh you who are a true child of God, you may be drenched, but you shall never be drowned! Oh warrior of the cross, your shield may be covered with fiery arrows, thickly as the saplings of a young forest grow; but no arrow shall ever reach your heart! You may be wounded in head and hand and foot; you may be a mass of scars; but your life is given to you. To Christ you are given as a prey, and you shall come out even from between the jaws of death, and you shall overcome Satan by Christ’s power. Only trust Christ; only trust him. Cling to your faith, beloved; cling to your faith! I would like to get a hold of that young man who has recently been listening to sceptical teachers, and to whisper in his ear, “Cling to your faith, young man; for, in losing that, you will lose everything.”

29. And to you who, alas! have fallen into sin after having made a profession of religion, let me say that, however far you have gone astray, still believe that Jesus is able to forgive you; and come back to him, and seek his pardon now. And you, my hoary-headed brother, whose hair is whitening for heaven, are you severely beset by all kinds of temptations? Well, give me your hand, for I, too, know what this warfare means. Let us believe in God, my brother; let us both believe in God. Though he should break us down worse than ever, though he should set us up as a target, and let the devil shoot at us all the arrows from his quiver, let us still believe in God; and come to this state, to which my soul has come very often, and to which Job came of old, “ ‘Though he kills me, yet I will trust in him’; whatever he does to me, — if he shall never smile at me again, — I will still believe him, I can do nothing else.” I dare not doubt him; I must confide in him. Where is there any basis for confidence if it is not in the God who cannot lie, and in the Christ of the everlasting covenant, whom he has presented to be the propitiation for human sin, and in the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to take from the things of Christ, and reveal them to us?

30. May the blessed Trinity save and keep us all, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — ‘Touched With The Feeling Of Our Infirmities’ ” 327}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — Preservation By His Plea” 330}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — Christ’s Compassion For The Weak” 328}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Aspirations for Heaven — ‘For Ever With The Lord’ ” 846}

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Lu 22:7-34,54-62}

22:7-20. Then the day of unleavened bread came, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover for us, so that we may eat.” And they said to him, “Where do you wish that we prepare it?” And he said to them, “Behold, when you have entered into the city, there a man shall meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters. And you shall say to the good man of the house, ‘The Master says to you, "Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?"’ And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.” And they went, and found it as he had said to them: and they made the passover ready. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve disciples with him. And he said to them. “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say to you, I will not eat of it any more, until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise he also the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament —

(Or, covenant — )

20, 21. In my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.

What a shadow this revelation must have cast over that solemn feast, over the Saviour’s heart, and over the minds of all his disciples! We can scarcely imagine what pangs tore his loving spirit. He could have used the language of David, with even deeper emphasis, and said, “It was not an enemy who reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he who hated me who magnified himself against me; then I would have hidden myself from him: but it was you, a man my equal, my guide, and my acquaintance.” “The hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.” Oh beloved, I pray that you and I may never betray our Master; if we should ever fail so as to deny him, may the Lord stop us where Peter fell, and never permit us to betray him as Judas did!

22. And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”

The decree of God does not lessen the responsibility of man for his action. Even though it is predetermined by God, the man does it of his own free will, and on him falls the full guilt for it.

23, 24. And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was who should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be considered the greatest.

Be astonished, dear friends, as you read, in such a context as this, “There was also a strife among them, which of them should be considered the greatest.” What! while yet the anxious question as to which of them was the traitor was being passed around, “Lord, is it I?” Is it so closely followed by another question, “Which of us shall be highest in the kingdom?” Oh, the awful intrusiveness of pride and ambition! How it will come in, and defile the very holy of holies! Indeed may God prevent our falling victims to it! The last question for a Christian ever to ask is, “How may I win honour among men?” The one and only question for a believer should be, “How can I glorify my Master?” Very often, that can best be done by taking the very lowest place in his church.

25, 26. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those who exercise authority on them are called ‘benefactors.’ But you shall not be so: but he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he who is chief, as he who serves.

Let every respect be given to the elder, and let such as God honours be honoured among us; but let no man honour himself, or seek honour for himself. After all, in Christ’s kingdom, the way to ascend is to descend. Did not the Master act like this? He descended, so that he might ascend, and fill all things; and so his disciples must do. Less, and less, and less, and less, must we become; and so we shall really be, in his sight, more, and more, and more, and more.

27. For who is greater, he who sits eating, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits eating? Yet I am among you as he who serves.

For he had just then taken a towel, and girded himself, and washed their feet, so becoming Servus servorum, the Servant of servants, though he was in very truth the King of kings.

28. You are those who have continued with me in my temptations.

There is a reward for the righteous, though they do not serve for reward, for the Lord says: —

29, 30. And I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed to me; that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Ah, but see what follows! No sooner, in this chapter, does the thought seem to rise than it is dashed down again; the brightness always has a shadow cast across it,

31, 32. And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, so that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, so that your faith does not fail: and when you are converted, strengthen your brethren.”

We are thinking about thrones, and about which of us shall have the loftiest throne, but see how the Master is thinking about the necessary while we are doting on the superfluous. He thinks of our needs while we are dreaming of something great. What a blessing it is that we have our Saviour praying for us when we ourselves may be imagining that we do not need to pray! Our hands are ready for the sceptre, and we are anxious to sit down on the throne, when the Lord knows that our proper place is at the footstool, still pleading for mercy.

33. And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you, both into prison, and to death.”

That is bravely spoken, Peter; and yet it is very foolishly said, too. He spoke from his very heart, and he meant what he said; but Peter did not know what a poor weak body Peter really was. His Master understood him far better.

34. And he said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow today, before you shall deny three times that you know me.”

And so it came to pass. Let as read a part of the sad story, beginning at the fifty-fourth verse.

54. Then they took him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

I do not think that he was to be blamed for that; I do not see how he could very well have followed any nearer, for he was already a marked man. That sword-cut of his on the ear of Malchus had made him especially prominent among the disciples, even if he had not been well known before. He got into the crowd, and came after his Master at such a distance as seemed safe for him.

55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were seated together, Peter sat down among them.

I think that he was to be blamed for that action, for it brought him into dangerous company. Better to be cold, than to go and warm your hands in ungodly company.

56. But a certain maid saw him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked at him, —

As the flame came flashing up every now and then, she looked at him, and Peter was troubled by her gaze: she “earnestly looked at him,” —

56-59. And said, “This man was also with him.” And he denied him, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And after a little while another saw him, and said, “You are also of them.” And Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And about an hour later, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Truly this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilean.”

For he got talking to this bad company, and his speech had betrayed him.

60. And Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.”

Another Evangelist tells us that he began to curse and to swear, as if that was the best proof that he could possibly give that he did not know Jesus; for, when you hear a man swear, you know at once that he is no Christian, you may conclude that safely enough. So Peter thought that, to prove that he was no follower of Christ, he would use such bad language as the ungodly speak.

60, 61. And immediately, while he still spoke, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked at Peter.

God has all things in his hands, he has servants everywhere, and the cock shall crow, by the secret movement of his providence, just when God wills; and there is, perhaps, as much of divine ordination about the crowing of a cock as about the ascending of an emperor to his throne. Things are only little and great according to their bearings; and God did not consider the crowing bird to be a little thing, since it was to bring a wanderer back to his Saviour, for, just as the cock crew, “the Lord turned, and looked at Peter.” That was a different look from the one which the girl had given him, but that look broke his heart.

62. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows, you shall deny me three times.” And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

How many there are, who sin with Peter, but who never weep with Peter! Oh, if we have ever transgressed in such a way as he did, let us never cease to weep! Above all, let us begin at once to lament it, and not rest until the Master looks again, and says by that look, “I have blotted out all your transgressions; return to me.”

The Standard Life Of C. H. Spurgeon

Special Notice

Early in May, Messrs. Passmore & Alabaster will (D. V.) publish Vol. III. of C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography. The May number of The Sword and the Trowel contains a detailed description of the contents of the volume, together with some especially interesting references to Vols. I. and II.

Orders for all or any of the volumes, or for the monthly shilling parts, should be given at once to all booksellers or colporteurs, or sent to Messrs. Passmore & Alabaster, 4, Paternoster Buildings, London, E. C.

Jesus Christ, In Heaven
327 — “Touched With The Feeling Of Our Infirmities”
1 Where high the heavenly temple stands,
   The house of God not made with hands,
   A great High Priest our nature wears,
   The Patron of mankind appears.
2 He, who for men their Surety stood,
   And pour’d on earth his precious blood,
   Pursues in heaven his mighty plan,
   The Saviour and the friend of man.
3 Though now ascended up on high,
   He bends on earth a brother’s eye;
   Partaker of the human name,
   He knows the frailty of our frame.
4 Our fellow sufferer yet retains
   A fellow feeling of our pains,
   And still remembers in the skies,
   His tears, and agonies, and cries.
5 In every pang that rends the heart,
   The Man of Sorrows had a part;
   He sympathizes in our grief,
   And to the sufferer sends relief.
6 With boldness therefore at the throne,
   Let us make all our sorrows known,
   And ask the aid of heavenly power
   To help us in the evil hour.
                     Michael Bruce, 1770, a.

Jesus Christ, In Heaven
330 — Preservation By His Plea
1 There is a Shepherd kind and strong,
   Still watchful for his sheep:
   Nor shall the infernal lion rend
   Whom he vouchsafes to keep.
2 Blest Jesus, intercede for us,
   That we may fall no more;
   Oh raise us, when we prostrate lie,
   And comfort lost restore.
3 Thy secret energy impart,
   That faith may never fail;
   But under showers of fiery darts,
   That temper’d shield prevail.
                  Philip Doddridge, 1755.

Jesus Christ, In Heaven
328 — Christ’s Compassion To The Weak
1 With joy we meditate the grace
   Of our High Priest above;
   His heart is made of tenderness,
   His bowels melt with love.
2 Touch’d with a sympathy within,
   He knows our feeble frame;
   He knows what sore temptations mean,
   For he has felt the same.
3 But spotless, innocent, and pure,
   The great Redeemer stood,
   While Satan’s fiery darts he bore,
   And did resist to blood.
4 He, in the days of feeble flesh,
   Pour’d our his cries and tears,
   And in his measure feels afresh
   What every member bears.
5 Then let our humble faith address
   His mercy and his power,
   We shall obtain delivering grace
   In the distressing hour.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.

The Christian, Aspirations for Heaven
846 — “For Ever With The Lord”
1 “For ever with the Lord!”
      Amen! so let it be!
   Life from the dead is in that word,
      ‘Tis immortality!
2 Here in the body pent,
      Absent from him I roam,
   Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
      A day’s march nearer home.
3 My Father’s house on high,
      Home of my soul! how near,
   At times, to faith’s foreseeing eye,
      Thy golden gates appear!
4 Ah! then my spirit faints
      To reach the land I love,
   The bright inheritance of saints,
      Jerusalem above!
5 “For ever with the Lord!”
      Father, if ‘tis thy will,
   The promise of that faithful word,
      Even here to me fulfil.
6 Be thou at my fight hand,
      Then can I never fail,
   Uphold thou me, and I shall stand,
      Fight, and I must prevail.
7 So when my latest breath
      Shall rend the veil in twain,
   By death I shall escape from death,
      And life eternal gain.
8 Knowing as I am known,
      How shall I love that word,
   And oft repeat before the throne,
      “For ever with the Lord!”
9 Then, though the soul enjoy
      Communion high and sweet,
   While worms this body must destroy,
      Both shall in glory meet.
10 That resurrection word,
      That shout of victory,
   Once more, “For ever with the Lord!”
      Amen — so let it be!
                  James Montgomery, 1835.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

Terms of Use

Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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