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Summary: A sermon for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost Proper 17 Jesus rebuke of Peter

15th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 17

Matthew 16:21-28

"Man’s Way vs God’s Way"

21 ¶ From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you."

23 But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men."

24 ¶ Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?

27 For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.

28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."RSV

Grace and peace to your from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

Television commercials have a way of living in a person’s mind long after it is seen. Even the characters of some commercials have a way of living far beyond even the product itself: It is like that for me with the old Charmin commercials. Mr. Whipple has lived on and, on even though the commercial has changed, his presence has lived with that product for years.

His Charmin commercial, I think, has a lot to say to us also about this-text and our lives.

You remember the commercial:

Mr. Whipple who appears very shy has to call a halt to all the women shoppers who find Charmin tissue so irresistible that they feel compelled to pick it up and squeeze it.

Mr. Whipple finds many different ways to catch the ladies in their act of squeezing. But in the end Mr. Whipple, with great embarrassment, finds himself guilty of squeezing the Charmin also.

Today’s gospel lesson follows on the heels of last week’s lesson were we saw Peter make his confession. Remember last week, Peter was the hero of our lesson because he confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus had asked the disciples who do men say that I am? The disciples gave him many different answers, then he asked them, "but who do you say that I am?" Then we get Peter’s great confession of faith, "Jesus , you are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter was a hero, he understood who Jesus really was, he understood that Jesus was no mere man, but a living part of the God of creation, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus was the Son of God who came to this earth to show and to tell the people of God, the Israelites, about God in a very real and personally way. Peter had put it all together for that moment at least, he knew who Jesus was.

But in today’s lesson, Peter quickly changes from the hero to the goat, from one who is expounding some great truths, to one who is babbling and carrying on about things that he doesn’t understand, or even want to understand. Peter changes so quickly in fact, that Jesus equates him with the devil when he says, "Get behind me Satan" you are tempting me, you are hindering me you are trying to make me change my mind about the course that I am suppose to take. What did Peter do so wrong to change so quickly from the hero to a ghost in just a few short minutes?

Peter in our gospel text this morning is like that Charmin tissue, he is being squeezed by the forces of tradition, the forces of his own human nature, the forces of his own ideas. Peter is trying to tell Jesus that suffering, pain, and the cross are not part of the plan for the Messiah.

After Peter’s confession, Jesus began to tell the disciples about what lie ahead for him. Jesus told the disciples that he would suffer at the hands of the religious rulers, he would in fact be put to death by these ruler, but God would raise him on the third day. Jesus was explaining the concept of the suffering servant, the suffering Messiah to the disciples, and Peter out of love and respect, out of his own ideas about the Messiah, out of his own sense of glory and righteousness took Jesus in his large arms and said, "God forbid, Lord. This shall never happen to you."

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