Monday, June 16, 2008

Lessons from the Disciples

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

Yesterday, my pastor preached a sermon on this passage from Matthew 26:30-35. I was really struck by some of the things that he said. I thought that I would share some of my notes from the sermon:

Here the disciples were faced with the decision to deny Christ or be killed. We are all faced with times when we must stand up for Christ or deny Him. Later each one of the disciples died for their boldness in preaching the gospel of Christ. But here, ever single one of them falls away. V. 35—Every one of the disciples defended themselves and reassured themselves that they would never fall. They were genuinely sure that they would never turn away from Christ. They were relying on their own self-sufficiency rather than God. But they were about to fail the test. He was trying to teach them through this.

First of all, He wanted the disciples to see, you are insufficient to handle this trial. He reminded them of their weakness. He wanted them to realize their spiritual poverty, that they didn’t have enough on their own. [1 Cor. 10:12] He wanted them to realize their need of Him. Judas deliberately plotted to betray Christ. The other disciples weren’t deliberately planning to deny Christ, but they had to realize that you cannot be faithful to Christ without utterly depending on Him. Luke 22:31-34—Jesus knew that although His disciples would deny Him, their faith would not fail, because He had prayed for them (as He prays for us all).

Secondly, He wanted them to know that He loved them and would be gracious to them. John 21:4-19—In this passage, Jesus is talking with Peter on the beach, and proving his love for Him. Jesus asks Peter twice, “Do you [agape] love me?” And both times Peter answers, “Yes, Lord, I [pheilo] love You.” Agape is an overwhelming love, more than any other thing. Essentially, Jesus was asking Peter, “Do you love me more than anything else?” But Peter was saying, “Yes, Lord, I love you like a brother.” Finally Jesus asked, “Peter, do you [pheilo] love Me?” And Peter told Him, “You know me and my heart, and You know that I love You like a brother.” Peter was admitting this time that he didn’t have the love for Christ that he needed. He knew that he didn’t have the strength to love Christ like he should, but in that knowledge of his weakness, he was empowered by Christ to stand. Only 40 days later, as recorded in Acts chapter 2, Peter would stand for Christ in front of the very people who had crucified Him, and call for them all to repent.

I think that this passage really impacted me a lot, because I have been realizing the past few weeks just how insignificant and weak I really am. I don't have the strength to do anything on my own. But God has been daily reminding me, that through Him I have all the strength that I need. I just need to trust and rely on Him for that strength rather than trying to do it on my own. Without Him I am nothing. But through Christ, I have the strength to do all things.

No comments: