Summary: Dealing with difficulties
Tonight I want to show three things that people thought they had hope in --
But really it more a wing and a prayer instead of hope.
1) FIRST -- peter thought things couldn’t get any worse
Let’s look at Matthew 26:69-75 (Msg)
All this time, Peter was sitting out in the courtyard. One servant girl came up to him and said, "You were with Jesus the Galilean."
 In front of everybody there, he denied it. "I don’t know what you’re talking about."
 As he moved over toward the gate, someone else said to the people there, "This man was with Jesus the Nazarene."
 Again he denied it, salting his denial with an oath: "I swear, I never laid eyes on the man."
 Shortly after that, some bystanders approached Peter. "You’ve got to be one of them. Your accent gives you away."
 Then he got really nervous and swore. "I don’t know the man!"
Just then a rooster crowed.
 Peter remembered what Jesus had said: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." He went out and cried and cried and cried.
PETER WAS NOT THE KIND OF MAN WHO CRIED A LOT.
HE WAS THE EPITOPMY OF THE MACHO KIND OF GUY
IN FACT -- if YOU LOOK UP THE WORD "MACHO" IN A HEBREW DICTIONARY - IT HAS PETER’S PICTURE.
SO WHEN THE WORD RECORDS HE cried and cried and cried, IT is a pretty big event.
Peter thought his hope was in the kingdom Jesus was creating.
So when Jesus dies on the cross, his hopes are dashed.
Friends -- some today have their hope in presidents, or prime ministers, or peace plans, or terrorists eradication efforts.
Someone ask me other day if i was worried about bush in the middle east and his peace plan --
i said "no".
I don’t understand it, but i don’t know everything he knows.
and besides - unless God is in it -- ain’t none of it going to work anyway.
My only concern is that we stay on Israel’s side --
And so far Israel seems to like what’s going on.
But my hope is not in president bush, nor is it in the peace keepers in iraq.
peter banked on the politics of the day -- and when those fell through, his world collapsed.
Some people are banking on the economy the same way,
others have their hope in their job --
And all around us there are PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD WHO ARE JUST LIKE PETER,
THEIR WORLD HAS COLLAPSED AND THEY DON’T KNOW WHERE ELSE TO TURN.
SUICIDE TODAY IS AT AN ALL TIME -- AND THE REASON IS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE PUTTING THEIR FAITH IN PEOPLE AND THINGS --
AND PEOPLE AND THINGS FAIL.
AND WHEN WHAT YOU HAVE PLACED YOUR FAITH IN FAILS, THEN YOU HAVE NO REAL REASON TO KEEP LIVING.
PETER’S WHOLE WORLD HAD COLLAPSED
Yet HE NOT ONLY WAS ONE OF THE 12 DISCIPLES, BUT HE WAS ONE OF THE INNER 3, THE FRIENDS OF JESUS.
HE HAD WALKED ALONG THE BEACH WITH JESUS, HE HAD SHARED MEALS, AND LAUGHTER, AND JOY.
AND YET WHEN PUT ON THE SPOT TO CONFESS HIS FREINDSHIP WITH JESUS, HE DENIED EVEN KNOWING WHO jesus WAS.
the kingdom jesus was to establish WAS PETER’S WHOLE WORLD.
HE HAD GIVEN UP HIS BUSINESS TO FOLLOW JESUS --
HE WAS CONSUMED BY HIS DESIRE TO SEE JESUS BECOME THE king of israel.
BUT THEN HIS WORLD COLLAPSED.
JESUS WAS ARRESTED, TRIED, SENTENCED, AND CONDEMNED TO DEATH
-- AND PETER EVEN CURSED THE NAME OF JESUS.
THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD TODAY WHO ARE JUST LIKE PETER.
RIGHT OR WRONG, THEY HAVE FIXED THEIR HOPE IN SOMEONE, OR ON SOMETHING,
AND THAT SOMEONE HAS FAiLED THEM OR THAT THING HAS COLLAPSED.
THEY HAVE WEPT BITTER TEARS, AND LOST SIGHT OF ANY HOPE.
They just don’t see how things could get any worse
BUT WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE -- IS THAT JESUS CAME ON THE SCENE AND RESTORED PETER.
LOOK AT MARK 16:5-7:
At the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.
 He said, "Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the one they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty.
 Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said."
DID YOU SEE THAT -- the disciples and PETER --
FRIENDS, YOU MAY THINK YOUR WORLD HAS COLLAPSED,
YOU MAY FEEL LIKE THERE IS NO REASON TO GO ON,