Summary: What do we do when our own friends, our most intimate companions, choose to deny us, to betray us and to forget all the good we did towards them? Jesus teaches the right response to people who back stab us
Message by Pr. Eddie Fernandes
Slide 1 (title) Good morning. Last week Tom took us through the 3rd station of the cross. He described what took place when Jesus was the victim of great injustice, betrayal and cruelty at the hands of His own people, at the hands of the religious Sanhedrin, including the High Priest of Israel, and at the hands of the Roman Empire in the persons of King Herod and Pontius Pilate. Tom taught us that in times of injustice we need to remember three things: God is in Control, we need to Testify to the Truth and we must Take Courage to remain steadfast to God’s Word and Purpose. Today we progress to the 4th Station of the Cross in a message I have titled: The High Priest’s Courtyard – The Essentiality of Forgiveness. The Key People are Jesus & Peter. The Key Teaching is FORGIVENESS and the Key Scriptures are found in Matthew 26. Let us read the passage and then dive right into the story.
Slide 2a (verse) “69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said. 70 But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said. 71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ 72 He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’ 73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.’ Slide 2b (verse) 74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:69-75 – NIV).
So what’s the story? The Gospel of Matthew records the call of the first disciples. Jesus was about to begin His history-making and world-changing ministry. He was somewhere in the region of 30 years of age when He was baptized by John the Baptist. This took place in the 15th year of Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar according to Luke 3:1. John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, would have turned 30 in April of the same year because John was six months older than Jesus. Pontius Pilate was appointed Governor of the Roman Province of Judea and King Herod was the Tetrarch of Galilee.
Some historians believe Jesus was baptized on a Sunday in September around 26AD. He would be crucified during Passover 3 ½ years later in 30 AD. After His baptism He was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights without consuming water or food. Leaving the wilderness He went for a walk besides the Sea of Galilee where he saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Jesus called out to them: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” The Bible tells us immediately they dropped the nets, left everything behind and followed him. Jesus went on to choose an additional 10 disciples.
He walked daily with those 12 men, He spoke to them, He taught them, He ate with them and crisscrossed the country of Israel with them as they watched Him perform signs, wonders and miracles unlike anything they had ever seen or heard. They became a close-knit family. They saw Him heal lepers, open blind eyes, restore movement to paralytics, and they even stared incredulously when He raised the dead back to life! They saw Him take authority over nature and the very elements. Time-and-again they were astounded by His power and amazed by His wisdom and knowledge. Peter was among His closest friends.
You are Petros – a small rock Slide 3 (sub-title)
We have all heard of Dwayne Johnson, also called The Rock, but let me tell you he was not the original Rock. The original rock was Peter. When Jesus called him his name was Simon. Jesus changed his name as we read in John 1. Jesus said to him “I will call you Peter.” The Greek word was “Petros” and in Aramaic it was “Cephas”. It literally meant “small stone.” Please remember He was not saying Peter was the cornerstone and neither was He saying He was the Eternal Rock upon which the Church would be built. Jesus is the only cornerstone and the only Foundational Rock upon which we can build our lives and should anchor our Church. When Jesus called him “small stone” He was saying you are called to be like me…you are to be my reflection…you are made in my image. I call you to be my Ambassador and Messenger. Even as you and I are Christians, but we are not Christs, so too Peter was a small stone, but He was not The Rock on which the Church of Christ would be established.