Sermon in a nutshell: Matthew 26:69-75
How many times have you denied Jesus? Never? That is wonderful! Here in the Bible, we read that Peter denied Jesus three times. He was sitting out in the courtyard. Jesus was questioned and accused of blasphemy. Jesus claimed that he was the Messiah that Daniel saw in his vision. However, he did not look like one, who should come with the clouds of heaven! However, what Daniel saw was the second coming of Jesus. The first coming and ministry of Jesus is described in Isaiah 53:1-3,
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.”
Why did he have to come in this lowly form? God wants to know who the true followers are and who just curious crowd are. Let me ask you a question. If you are a rich person how do you tell your true lover from just a gold digger? Do you make a prenuptial agreement? One of the ways is to act as if you are not a rich person until you see the true heart of your date. Jesus came the first time with this lowly form. Even though he told us that he was the Messiah and the King of the Kings, it was just his words!
This is the real test. Would you accept Jesus just because of his words? Of course, he had performed many miracles but people had different interpretations of the miracles even when they did not deny them. Still many people have disputes against his resurrection. So, what we need is faith in, not evidences of, the Lordship of Jesus. If we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, as the Messiah and the King of Kings based on his words, we have the faith that can overcome any challenges in our lives. This is the faith that endures all the tests that life can give to us.
If we have a gold-digger-faith, the faith that God would do anything that we ask, we will have break- down of our faith someday. We prayed for one thing and it does not happen. We expected something from God and followed God but something bad happen to us. That was Peter’s case. He expected Jesus to be a king, a political one. He expected Jesus to overturn the Roman Empire with his supernatural power. He expected his high position somewhere there in Jesus’ kingdom. However, it did not happen. Jesus was arrested. He even did not try to defend himself! He decided to give himself up. He did not want Peter to use a sword! Now he is silent in front of all the accusations and mockeries. He could not follow Jesus any more. This was not what Peter dreamt of! So, he was far away from him. Now, when people pointed out his relationship with Jesus, he denied. Not once but three times as Jesus predicted!
At that time, he did not realize that he was denying Jesus three times. Only when a rooster crowed, he realized that Jesus knew it all along! Jesus accepted Peter even with the foreknowledge of his betrayal! It dawned on him that his faith in Jesus was the gold-digger’s faith. He cried uncontrollably. He understood the unconditional love of Jesus! God loves us even when we have this self-centered faith! Once he realized that, he was ready to take up a new faith now. May God lead all of us to this new faith also!
- What makes you to follow Jesus even in the middle of all the challenges of life?
- What was the serious challenge that you have had in your faith journey?