Lent 2009 – 3 Final Steps to the Cross


Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

“I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”

But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you,” And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew 26:31-35)

And so, Peter ultimately remains self-deluded. In a life altering moment, he tells the One whom he has acknowledged as The Christ that he will never deny him even when all others may. Does Peter honestly believe that or is he demonstrating an ignorance of the true condition of his heart? We are not told, but given our experiences with him, it wouldn’t be far fetched at this moment in history to lean toward an inner ignorance. Peter may have actually convinced himself that his loyalty to Jesus was pure and strong despite his numerous stumbles in the preceding three years. Do you think he was surprised at his first denial?

If any incident in Peter’s life puts a mirror up in front of us, it is these moments of denial. If asked when we are clear eyed and caffeinated, no Christian would perceive of a moment of stress when they would deny their love and allegiance to the Lord. Think hard though. Denial takes many forms beyond simply answering no to a question of association. Was there a moment when you didn’t speak up and should have? Has there ever been a time when being a Christian became an inconvenience and you put it in a secondary position? Failed to speak the truth when challenged by a non-believer?

Denial takes many forms. If you’ve read this far, it’s unlikely that you can claim ignorance. Are you unwilling to suffer the consequences of claiming Christ? The answer looms large this close to the Cross…

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Lent 2009 – 21 Steps to the Cross


From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “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.” (Matthew 16:21-23)

As we began to explore yesterday, we wonder why Peter would make such a crucial slip of the tongue. This concern comes from the impression within ourselves that we might not have made the same mistake, knowing what we do about Jesus. The answer that may elude us is this; Peter’s statement was not the result of ignorance or a lack of information. Peter’s rebuke was located in his resentment.

In his mind, Peter has sacrificed everything to follow and serve with Jesus but not to the end that Jesus was unfolding before him. Had he known in the beginning that Jesus was headed toward the cross, he more than likely would have stayed in Bethsaida and kept his fishing business. Peter’s rebuke was centered on himself and the good things that he thought should come from an association with Jesus.

Denial of self and carrying one’s own cross was not on his agenda.

The meditation today is in large part for pastors. How many of us are in the same place as Peter? How many of us are tired of suffering for Christ and want to look for the good things that were promised? We are willing to carry our cross but, just so far before we want a reward. Our name should be Peter.

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