Summary: We find in Jesus the secrets to spiritual stamina and we see in the disciples the elements that lead to spiritual failure.
A CONTRAST OF CHARACTER
Sermon Objective: We find in Jesus the secrets to spiritual stamina and we see in the disciples the elements that lead to spiritual failure.
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I want you to notice some interesting contrasts in these stories.
Jesus says: "You will all stumble"
Peter and friends say: "Even if all stumble, I will not."
Jesus says: yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.
Peter and friends say: I will never disown you.
Jesus says: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," so he fell to the ground and prayed
Peter and friends: Take a nap
Jesus says: “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
Peter and friends: Take another nap
Jesus says: “Enough!" Suggesting he has settled the matter.
Peter and friends: Resort to violence
Jesus: Quells the violence and submits to the Father’s plan
Peter and friends: Flee
Jesus says: "I am," And in doing so seals His fate and the redemption of humankind.
Peter says: "I am not" And in doing so distances himself from the Redeemer.
These contrasts are between Jesus and His followers. Did you notice that the term “follower” is an oxymoron? That they were anything but “following” Jesus?
THERE IS A CONTRAST BETWEEN THE DISCIPLE’S SELF-CONGRATULATIONS AND THE HUMILITY OF JESUS. (V. 27-52)
There is no question about the disciple’s loyalty and sincerity. They were more than confident in the ability to face any battle – spiritual or otherwise and they will show this when they use the sword. The question of their source of confidence, of the other hand, is real and answered. They thought the source of strength and courage would lie within themselves … hence they set themselves up to stumble and fall.
Jesus, however, gives us another alternative for facing the battle. When Jesus comes face to face with the horror that awaits him. Unlike the disciples, he does not brag of his ability and then flee; he flees immediately into the arms of the Father for strength and confidence.
Jesus understood that the circumstances were dire. The Gospel writer uses words like Deeply distressed, Troubled and Overwhelmed with sorrow.
The very Son of God placed no confidence in his flesh but fled to the Father as the source of all he would need for the unfolding event. And the Father’s presence indeed is proven to be satisfactory. With one simple word (enough/settled) Jesus gives the Father credit and credence.
THERE IS A CONTRAST BETWEEN PETER’S LACK OF INTEGRITY AND JESUS’ AWARENESS OF HIS PERSON AND MISSION (53-72)
To have integrity means that all the parts are assimilated … that they have been fused into a “whole.” We sometimes refer to it as having character. Peter shows his lack character and his lack of lack of courage when the pressure is on.
Peter sought acceptance and approval of the bystanders instead of Jesus.
I am sure that as Peter recounted these stories to Mark the words of Jesus (found in 8:38) were ringing in his ears.