Summary: This sermon attempts to look beyond Peter’s denial to the passion that motivated the failure, and which the Lord was ultimately able to use powerfully.
Scripture: Mark 14:27-31; 53-54; 66b-72
Two weeks ago we talked about Lazarus’ Dance, last week we looked at Mary’s Worship. This week we are going to look at the story that most of us refer to as Peter’s Denial. But what I want us to explore and learn from this morning is not so much Peter’s denial, as it is to look beneath the surface of Peter’s short-coming, step back to get a wider view, and to consider what I believe is perhaps a more godly look, at this label we’ve given Peter to wear down through the centuries. Let’s look today at Peter’s Passion.
First though, I word about passion. Probably the best known scripture referring to passion is Psalm 69:9 which is a prophecy about Jesus that says, “Passion for your house has consumed me.” Jesus was passionate about the temple of the Lord - it was to be a place a prayer.
What does it mean to be passionate about something? What does it mean to follow Jesus’ example in being passionate about his temple being a house of prayer. How do you get to be as passionate about following Jesus as what Peter seemed to be?
Webster’s defines passion as a strong emotion that has an overpowering or compelling effect. It implies burning intensity. It usually suggests eagerness in the pursuit of something.
So passion is active. Our passion for something or someone is what motivates our action. And we are called to be passionate followers of Jesus Christ. The church - followers of Christ are to be passionate, red-hot, lives on fire in every aspect - for him. Rev 3:16 Jesus says, because you are neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Jesus would rather have us stone COLD than lukewarm - just ho-hum kind of Christians. It’s the lukewarm churches he spits out. So we want to be passionate people.
Now you know and I know - there is plenty of passion in our church. We’ve got LOTS of passion here - and sometimes our passion, depending on where it comes from, - like Peter - can get us into just a bit of trouble.
A UCC pastor was wearing his clerical collar one day while visiting his wife who was in the hospital for minor surgery. He stopped in to see her and chatted with her for quite some time. Before leaving, he leaned down and gave his wife a very passionate kiss and left the room. The woman in the next bed over stared in disbelief. After the pastor left, the stunned woman said to her roommate, “You know, I’ve been a faithful member of the United Methodist Church all my life, but my pastor has never even come close to treating me as well as your’s does.”
Peter was passionate. And his passion motivated his actions.
In the scripture we read this morning, we can discover various actions that Peter’s Passion motivated him to. And what I hope to show us today is not so much the negative side of Peter’s passion, but what it was that JESUS might have seen in this passionate disciple of his, that lead Jesus to pick Peter to be the one who would strengthen his brothers. And we’re going to look at that verse in Luke 22 in just a minute.
But the first action we see of Peter’s here in this story is that:
1. Peter only heard the negative, (and we can add to that) - but at least he heard (vs 29).
In verses 27 & 28, Jesus said that everyone would desert him but after he was raised from the dead, he would get to Galilee BEFORE them and he would MEET them there.
Peter only heard the negative part of Jesus’ statement - he only heard that everyone would desert Jesus and Peter took it personally - he didn’t hear the part about Jesus meeting them in Galilee - none of them did, otherwise they would have understood that they would see him again, and perhaps, just perhaps, their grief wouldn’t have been as deep and their fear wouldn’t have been as intense.
And we do that too, don’t we? Someone says a whole statement to us, and we hear the negative, especially if it is something we perceive as negative about US. And we respond, or react to that, instead of hearing the whole message.
Peter couldn’t believe that he would desert his Lord, so he made a statement based on the negative part that he heard - the part that most affected his ego.
So number two: We see that Peter:
2. He was prideful with his words, but he was well-meaning (vs 31).
The words that Peter spoke in verses 29 and 31 were full of pride, but Peter meant well. Look at verse 29, he says, “Even if everyone else deserts, I never will!” Doesn’t that sound like a rather boastful statement. “These other guys, Lord - these other guys that have been following you for the same amount of time as I have, they might break down and desert you, but you can count on me. I’ll be there. I’ll even die for you!