Lesson 88: John 18:15-18 – Following Jesus

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 88 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



When the Lord met Peter, He told him to “follow” Him (Mt.4:18,19). People had to follow the Lord to be saved under the kingdom program (Mt.19:16-21), and be willing to follow to the death (Luke 9:22-26).

Peter thought he could handle that (John 13:37), and while it is true he “followed Jesus” (John 18:15) to the high priest after His arrest, he followed “afar off” to “see the end” (Mt.26:58). I doubt that’s what the Lord had in mind when He said they had to follow Him to be saved!

Following “afar off” made Peter a type of “lukewarm” Tribulation Jews. If Peter continued following like that, he’d be spued out! Of course, we don’t have to keep following Him to be saved, or even keep believing (IITim.2:13). But we should follow Him “therefore” (Eph. 5:1) out of gratitude for all He’s done for us (Eph.1:1-4:32).

“Another disciple” followed the Lord to the palace (John 18:15). Most people think this was John, but he always called himself by a certain name (Jo.13:23; 20:2; 21:7,20). This disciple was “known unto the high priest” (18:15) and John wasn’t (Acts 4:6,13). The high priest probably knew few humble Galilean fishermen like John. This disciple walked the high priest’s palace without fear (John 18:16).

Peter standing “at the door without” is a type of the man in Luke 13:23-25. “When once the master rose” is a type of Christ’s resurrection, after which the door to salvation would close at the Second Coming (James 5:8,9).

This other disciple brought Peter face to face with an accuser (John 18:17), making me think it was Judas. Who else wouldn’t fear arrest by the high priest who knew him?

Notice it is not a soldier but a maid accusing Peter. His violent reaction is the response of a guilty conscience in general (Pr.28:1), but Peter is specifically a type of Tribulation Jews who broke God’s covenant and so fled when not pursued (Lev.26:15-17).

A moment ago Peter tried to kill for the Lord (John 18:10), now he denies Him. What happened? Ah, he hadn’t listened when the Lord said He had to die, so he thought He was giving up when the Lord told him to put up his sword (18:11). When you don’t know what God is doing, it makes you afraid of questions, because you don’t know the answers. Learning to rightly divide the Word fixes this!

It was “cold” that night (John 18:18) yet the Lord sweat blood (Lu.22:44). But Peter was symbolically cold, for he was “afar off” from the Lord, a chill we’ll all feel if we forsake Him, forcing us to seek the warmth of the world’s fellowship as Peter did.

First Judas stood with the Lord’s foes (John 18:5) then Peter (18:18). God warns about standing with His foes (Ps.1:1; IICor.6:17) because He knows it is contagious!

The “fire of coals” should remind you of the burnt offering (Lev.16:2). Coal is black (Lam.4:8) and the animal was symbolically judged with the blackness of hell fire. The Lord was about to become a burnt offering, and Peter’s place was beside Him, not at the devil’s fire.

The coals that Peter warmed at were symbolic of those as-sociated with idolatry (Isa.44:9-16), making this fire associ-ated with Antichrist, the “idol shepherd” (Zech.11:17). He’s also associated with whoredom (Rev.17:1-5), the fires of which will burn a man (Pr.6:26-28).

As a Jew, Peter was supposed to be a king and a priest (Ex.19:6), and if priests messed with strange fire, God judged them with fire (Lev.10:1,2). Antichrist was called “a stranger” (John 10:5), and Tribulation Jews that warm themselves at his strange fire will taste the fire of the Second Coming (IITh.1:7,8).

Peter should have been dining on the coals of the Lord’s fire (John 21:4-15). When the Lord told Peter to feed His lambs while standing at coals of fire, it must have reminded Peter how blessed he was to be able to be used of the Lord despite his failings. That’s true of us as well!

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