Summary: This contribution is based on a message preached June 2, 2013, at the Eolia Baptist Church, Eolia, MO. This is not an exact transcription.

Thank you for giving me the privilege of sharing a message from God’s Word today. As some of you have found out, I’m originally from West Virginia but my wife is a native of Missouri, so, any questions, she can help translate for you! (audience laughed)

The text for the message is from Luke’s Gospel, chapter 22, beginning with verses 24 and following. While you’re turning there, I like to set the stage or “frame” the setting. Remember that this event took place in Jerusalem, during the last Passover our Lord took part in. He’s going to be taken into judgment and then crucified in just a few days. Oddly enough, in spite of His warnings to the disciples, many times before, they still didn’t grasp His words that He was going to die. We need to remember that crucifixion was the worst possible way for anyone to die, and yet that is how our Lord Jesus died, so that we might have salvation by grace—ALONE--, and through faith—ALONE—in Jesus Christ, ALONE. We don’t deserve His salvation, but let us be grateful that He provided this for us.

I’m reading from the New American Standard Version of the Bible:

[24] And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. [25] And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called 'Benefactors.' [26] "But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. [27] "For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. [28] "You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; [29] and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you [30] that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [31] "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; [32] but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:24-32, NASB)


Now let’s take a look at what the text has for us. Remember that in the immediate context, the disciples were, or had been, arguing about who was going to be the greatest. We’ve seen this before, when the mother of James and John came to Jesus and asked Him to grant these boys (!) the privilege of sitting on the right and left hands of Jesus Himself when the Kingdom was established. James and John had even done this, or asked this, themselves. We don’t know which event took place first but regardless of when, the other disciples never forgot about it. I’m sure James and John wished the others HAD forgotten about it!

But the words of Jesus, strangely, are directed towards Simon Peter! This may not be surprising, as Peter was usually the mouth or mouthpiece for the disciples. Bless him, Peter was usually one who entered a situation mouth-first! He, we remember, was the disciple who had the insight (from God the Father, of course) to speak up when Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” in Matthew 16. Some answered one thing or another but Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”

Now Peter also had the audacity to rebuke Jesus! Take a look, when you can, at Matthew 16:22, where we read, “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘*God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.’"

What did Jesus say, in reply? Verse 23 reads, “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on *God's interests, but man's.’"

So Peter had his extremes of insight, and yet boldness, and isn’t he just like a lot of us? I’m sure a lot of us would have the boldness to rebuke anyone and anything, but few of us would have the courage Peter had to stand before as many as he did and yet never give up on his faith in Jesus. In fact, anyone who ever becomes a leader, whether by being voted in or simply by being the best for the job, or even if enough simply look to the “leader” for guidance—regardless of the case, every leader puts on a shirt that has a giant bulls-eye or target painted right smack-dab on the back. Please pray for whoever becomes your pastor. He’s going to be targeted from all sides and he’s going to need your help. Pray, also, for pastors of other churches, and for those churches without pastors so that they won’t be like sheep without a shepherd.

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