Summary: Easter Reflection series: How Peter is like us, and what we can learn about ourselves and Easter’s application to our complexity

Will the Real Me stand Up?

Matthew 26:31-35

Easter reflection series.

A. People: Are we mixed up or what?

A Mexican bandit made a specialty of crossing the Rio Grande from time to time and robbing banks in Texas. Finally, a reward was offered for his capture, and an enterprising Texas Ranger decided to track him down.

After a lengthy search, he traced the bandit to his favourite cantina, snuck up behind him, put his trusty six-shooter to the bandit’s head, and said, "You’re under arrest. Tell me where you hid the loot or I’ll blow your brains out." But the bandit didn’t speak English, and the Ranger didn’t speak Spanish.

Fortunately, a bilingual lawyer was in the saloon and translated the Ranger’s message.

The terrified bandit blurted out, in Spanish, that the loot was buried under the oak tree in back of the cantina.

"What did he say?" asked the Ranger.

The lawyer answered, "He said, ’Get lost, Gringo. You wouldn’t dare shoot me.’"

I am sure every lawyer that decides to be a lawyer, first, thought about helping people with their legal problems… but there are times you kinda wonder are they really helping… or gouging me? Will the real lawyer who helps people and not take advantage of people stand up? I think there may be some here, sure I am like that… I help out people in trouble …

Have you heard of the four Canadians who have legally changed their surnames, From Dunlop to Dunlop-Tire? For doing this, each of them pocketed $6250 their share of the $25,000 prize money offered by Goodyear Canada Inc. which markets Dunlop tires in Canada. This was a marketing stunt that took branding to a new extreme. People are now branded, with brand names, to serve as a walking advertisement. 24 year old Jason Dunlop-tire of Winnipeg did it, and when folks made fun of him he says “I don’t care. I have the money and they don’t.” A San Diego man offered to change his name and shave his head so a company logo could be painted on it. Last summer, a NY couple tried to auction naming rights to their newborn with bids starting at $500,000 US. What will people think of next? Wally Wal-Mart?

So you see, there is something in humanity, in us, that would sell-out even our names just to get more of what we think is important for the moment. Will the people who will not sell out their identities stand up? Some here may say sure I will never do that!

Last week, we see more than enough the assaults on children, sad story of a mother Andrea Yates who killed her children in Texas, Quatsino, BC of 6 kids killed, story of Alexis Currie, missing and presumed murdered. That’s horrible, ain’t it? I will never do that!

Yet we also see the other side of humanity… The heroic rescue efforts of the NYPD and NY firefighters in the tragic aftermath of 9/11. We see them trying to rescue survivors in midst of the rubble. We salute them. We see that noble desire in us, we want to be like them! People buy that stuff, we see merchandise that has NYPD, NY Firefighters we buy that up! We see folks like Mother Teresa who would give a life of luxury to serve the poor and undesirables, the untouchable class in Calcutta and we applaud that. We too want to be really heroic. Last week, as health care dollars in BC become scarce, I hear folks are saying pay the doctors what they deserve, we applaud them, we see them helping the sick healing the sick… they are our heroes.

THIS IS THE STORY of our humanity – is it not? In there, is a mix of heroism, a mix of cowardice, a mix of sinfulness, yet in that mix a sense of the image of the Creator, who is love and who is good, who is beautiful and perfect and holy. We are mixed up!

In our text, this morning, we find the same can be said about Peter. Wasn’t he heroic? In Matthew 16, Jesus called him the Rock, macho name, isn’t it? Kinda like a wrestling type nickname, the Rock! Here’s what Rock said in our text, v.33 “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” Then in v.35 “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” How many of us have said that to Jesus too? We pledge to follow Christ on the day we Him Christ into our hearts, on the day of baptism, on the day we rededicated…

Here is the same guy who would jump out of the boat and walked on water toward Jesus (Matt.14). How daring can you get? Talk about fear factor! That’s like 1st century bungee jumping, without the bungee. Go Pete! Go! We too want to have a faith like that, a faith that can walk on water. And some of us have done some pretty bold things for God too…

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