Summary: In this sermon we are discussing Peter's denial, and the fact that Jesus makes intercession for us. This could be used as an Easter sermon, or a stand-alone sermon that shows that because Christ has been raised from the dead, we have hope.
If you have your Bibles (and I hope you do), take them and open them up to Luke 22. We’re starting a short series on the Resurrection in hopes that God will use these sermons to prepare our hearts for the holiday season. And that we’ll see how glorious, and wonderful, and awesome, and amazing Jesus really is.
So… Luke 22:24 – 34 (READ).
So our text starts out with the disciples arguing about which of them was the greatest. In other words, these guys… the disciples had delusions of grandeur floating around in their heads. And it stemmed from a wrong idea of who Jesus was, and what His mission or purpose was. They believed that at this point in time, He was going to march into Jerusalem, throw off the yoke of Roman bondage, set up a physical, earthly kingdom, sit on a physical, earthly throne, and usher in a new golden age for Israel. And so they were jockeying for position in this ideal kingdom they had concocted in their minds.
Of course they missed it completely, and we’ll get to that in a minute, but this is what they had been doing, and so Jesus takes a moment to correct them in this.
So in verses 28, 29, and 30 Jesus first gives His disciples a promise. Now that might seem a little bit strange to correct someone’s wrong thinking by giving them a promise, but God’s ways are not our ways. Look at this: These guys have just been arguing about who was the greatest among them, and basically Jesus says, “That’s not how it works in My Kingdom boys! In My Kingdom we don’t think about advancing our own self-importance. We don’t think about achieving greatness as the world defines it.” And He uses Himself as an example… He says, “I am among you as the one who serves.” So Jesus is encouraging His disciples to be like Him. Because that’s where true greatness is… Not in all the fame and fortune and power, but in serving.
I told you God’s ways are not our ways. This concept is so hard for us to wrap our minds around. That humble service equals greatness in God’s eyes. That’s what Jesus is saying here. But that’s not all He says to them. He’s corrected their wrong thinking, but then He goes ahead and gives them the promise that someday they will be given authority and honor, and be seated with Him, and they’ll judge the tribes of Israel. So what Jesus is doing here is correcting their wrong thinking here. He’s saying, “Boys you’re arguing about meaningless things. You’re thinking that I’m going to Jerusalem to set up a physical kingdom and set on a physical throne right now, but that’s not the case at all. I’m going to die for the sins of the world. I’m going to lay down my life as a ransom for many. You need to change your perspective from the temporary to the eternal.
And that leads us into the next part of our text; verses 31 – 34 (READ).
Jesus turns his attention to Peter, but you notice… at first He doesn’t call him Peter. He uses his Hebrew name Simon. And He says it twice, which is showing us kind of a tenderness in the heat of Jesus. And basically Jesus tells him straight up… “Simon, you’re sitting here arguing with the others about whose going to be the greatest, but let me tell you something. Satan has petitioned My Father and he’s wants to sift you like wheat.” And this should remind us of the story of Job. And I’ll just tell you right now, if you’re not familiar with the story of Job, you should read it today when you get home. It will take you less than 30 minutes to read it… But basically in that story, Satan comes to God and asks to have a crack at Job, and God allows it… Well here in our text it’s the same sort of thing. And so what Jesus is saying to Peter here is, “Simon, there’s an ancient and powerful being, whose beyond your human comprehension, and he has come to God and asked to sift you like wheat.”
In other words, “While you guys have been busy arguing over your wrong notions and ideas, and with wrong perspectives, there’s a spiritual battle happening all around you. And your enemy, the enemy of your souls, whose sole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy, has approached God and petitioned to sift you like wheat.”
So how does this tie in with Easter? Well there’s a theme that runs through the entire Passion Week. From Palm Sunday, to Good Friday, to Resurrection Sunday… And it’s what we’ve already seen here in our text. The disciples and all the people were looking for a physical, earthly king to deliver them from Rome and bring back this golden age of Israel.