The Wrong Place!
"Peter sat down among them." Luke 22:54
WHO sat down? PETER! — one whom Jesus had called out of the world, and separated unto His kingdom and for His service. One who had been taught by the Father to know the character, and bear testimony to the dignity of Jesus. One who had been sent out to preach the gospel and work miracles, and who had rejoiced that the very demons were subject unto him through the name of Jesus. One who had been peculiarly favored; as in the house of Jairus, on the mount of transfiguration, and in the garden of Gethsemane. One to whom Jesus had promised a throne in His coming kingdom, and who had been solemnly cautioned against yielding to temptation. One who was considered a zealous and determined disciple, whom none suspected, nor did he suspect himself!
What Peter DID: "He sat down among them." He was now in the High Priest's house, before whom Jesus was brought as a criminal. He was surrounded by the enemies of His Master, who scoffed at his claims and thirsted for His blood. He was led there by curiosity, desiring to see what would be the end of the present attempt on his Master's life. He thus neglected the loving caution and exhortation of Jesus, who had said, "I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!" "Watch you and pray, lest you enter into temptation." He was off his guard, and neglecting prayer; and now he sits down among them as though he was one of them, like a person at home with them.
What was the CONSEQUENCE? He was tempted. The temptation was too strong for him; he fell — he manifested his weakness. He fell — fell into the very sin against which he was warned, against which he had so warmly and zealously protested! He fell within sight of Jesus, and before his determined and avowed foes. He repeated the sin, and at every repetition, manifested more hardness and depravity!
Poor Peter! where is your courage, your zeal — your going to prison and to death for Jesus? Satan desired to have you — and now he has you! How much better would it have been for you, if you had fled with the rest of your fellow-disciples, or had remained behind in the garden to pray! But it is trial alone — which will convince us of our fickleness and weakness!
Reader, take heed where you go! You are not safe in every place. "Do not go in the way of sinners." Do not stand in the council of the ungodly — lest you should at length sit in the seat of the scornful.
Peter fell by degrees — and so may you. Watch and pray wherever you go! You had need be always on the look-out for danger, and in prayer for divine keeping. When solicited to go into questionable places — think of Peter! When invited to join worldly parties — beware! Be sure you are justified in what you do, and where you go. Ask seriously: Will God go with me? For if God does not sanction you — if He does not go with you. You will be sure to fall. Ask again: Does the promise reach me here? Ask once more: Did duty call me here? If it did, you may be safe, for you may look for and expect to receive the Lord's blessing.
Professor of religion, think of Peter — and avoid the snare in which he was taken. It is recorded for your admonition — and it is intended to preserve you from falling. When inclined to join worldly parties, or to be present at carnal feasts, ask, "Should I sit down among them? Will God be with me? Can He approve of my going?"
And if these remarks should be read by one, who can occasionally frequent the alehouse, and sit down among drunkards — I must tell such a one — you are in the wrong place! Peter, as weak as he was — would not go there. Peter would not have gone into the High Priest's hall — but that his Master was there; but you know that your Master is not in the alehouse! If at any time duty should lead there, holiness would prevent your remaining there longer than is absolutely necessary.
Who do you find there? Swearers, liars, harlots, adulterers, and every kind of profane person; they feel at home there, they have fellowship with each other; but shall Peter sit down among them? Heaven forbid it! Either give up your profession altogether — or "Come out from among them, and be you separate, and touch not the unclean thing!"
How differently the Psalmist felt to what you do; witness his prayer:, "Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with bloodthirsty men." Hear his testimony: "I am a companion of all those who fear you, and of those who keep your precepts!"