Today: Good Friday – Bible: middle of the day, sky turned black. Moon turned red.
Ugly: best man, murdered
Beautiful: brought freedom to us all.
People have found power in the cross for 1,000’s of years.
Hope, peace, comfort, redemption, meaning.
Ever strike you as strange – ancient execution device.
Why has this execution device endured as a symbol of hope for millions of people for thousands of years?
Cross is about Jesus – died on one. – Everything changed.
Simultaneously one of the most horrifically ugly and amazingly beautiful things known to man.
Tonight: Ugliness of the cross, and the beauty of the cross.
The Cross – perspective – Peter
Always loved Peter. Jesus.
Natural leader. – 1st to speak/act1st to speak – before thinking. 1st to act
Bold brave – Person of extremes – Leaders often are.
“who do people say I am?” Christ, son of living God. “You’re blessed. Revelation from my father in heaven.”
Suffering, cross “not gonna happen”
“Get behind me Satan.”
Blessed – Satan – 4 verses.
Extremes. – Right – really right
Peter’s greatest failure.
A failure Jesus predicted.
Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: “ ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ (Matthew 26:31)
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” (Matthew 26:32)
Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.” (Matthew 26:33)
“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” (Matthew 26:34)
But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. (Matthew 26:35)
Peter – always one – object – Jesus – suffering.
Reason: Peter- typical view – “messiah” among jews.
Strong, militant, political ruler, destroy Israel’s enemies, make Israel – soverign nation again,
Wanted a messiah who would win.
Typical of imperfect people – wanted messiah in his own image. – God in his own image.
We’ve always wanted God to reflect us. – Interests, Agendas,
Peter – wanted messiah who would win. – Jesus.
When Jesus mentions his suffering this last time – “Won’t let it happen, even if I have to die.”
“Peter, 3 times, before morning.”
Peter – sincere – proof – garden – ear
“put that sword away, live by the sword, die by the sword.”
Teaches peter fight – violence – healing.
Arrest Jesus – turning point for Peter. He thought – this was gonna be a turning point for Jesus.
“Serious – suffering?” He can win!
Disciples leave – Peter – follows at a distance.
3 people notice him
“Weren’t you with Jesus?” – “I don’t know the man.”
Here’s the question: “Bold, courageous – cowardly?”
No Jesus around.He no longer had his military, all powerful messiah around.
Playground Like on playground, a kid walks around feeling tough, cuz he’s got his big brothers hand.
Undernearth toughness – scarred little boy.
Jesus saw – prophesy.Jesus saw through the toughness, was able to prophesy.
“I never knew him.” 3rd time, Luke says
“caught eyes with Jesus” – remembered prophecy – Wail.
Enter – pain & shame. Knowing that Jesus knew.
Mocked by crowd, Promised be there. Save myself. “I should be there with him. I promised I’d be there with him. But I chose to save myself.”
Beating him, whipping him,
‘can’t even be recognized as a man.’
Carry own cross
9 inch spikes – wrists/ankles.
Imagine shame of Peter – promised be there w/ him.
Mixed Emotions – Raised I have to imagine that Peter had mixed emotions when he heard the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen.
One one hand: loved. this man. Sincerely. Gave his life for him. – Happy that he’s alive.
Other hand: Face him. Shame.Other hand: meant he’d have to face him. Shame.
Paul and Luke: Before disciples – Peter. Paul and Luke: Before Jesus appeared to disciples, appeared to Peter first.
1st – Mary Magdalene When he was raised, first Mary Madeline, women were courageous enough to go down there. Guys were still hiding.
Before disciples – Peter – “OK” – Imagine Joy/Shame”Before I go to rest of disciples, I gotta go talk to Peter and let him know it’s ok.” We don’t know what happened at that meeting. – Imagine: joy but also shame.
Nowhere bible: gravel, beg forgiveness.
In fact, Jesus prayed forgiveness. But nowhere do we see that Peter had to gravel, hang his head in shame. In fact, Jesus prayed for Peter’s forgiveness before he died. “Father forgive them” includes Peter.
Like Prodigal Son I picture it like prodigal son. Speech prepared, father doesn’t even let him get into it, just says “it’s done with.”
Picture Peter weeping in shame, and Jesus hugging him and saying it’s ok.
John 21 – “Do you love me?” – 3 times Replacing 3 denials with 3 affirmations of love.
New prophesy – previous – denying Jesus – being faithful.
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)
Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:19)
We know – Peter – tortured and crucified, upside down.
Prophesy had a purpose. Learning/Growing – He had done what he wanted up to this point. This is the new Peter coming out, not militant and victorious over others.
Peter: Only after – huge failure – grace & forgiveness – self sacrificial love.
Understands – not abut conquering, serving.
3 things that the cross does for Peter.
Should do for us.
1. The Cross smashed peter’s false view of God.
Jesus != our own image.
Mean, all controlling God – threats. Lightning bolt throwing God.
Tribal God, loves our team and kills their team.
Our nation, our church, our race.
- A God – has kind of love that woud die for a race of human beings who couldn’t deserve it less.
- God – choose to die for enemies – crush them.
- Not power over, but power under. – Washes feet.
- Not just Israel, America. – He’s the God that unconditionally embraces all people at all times. You know true: we’d never come up with it. You know it’s true b/c it’s not the God you’d ever come up with. So radical that even many Christians don’t let it change their opinion of God.
Tonight: Let the cross rid your mind of all false views of God.
2. The cross Smashed Peter’s false view of himself.
Made him face his sin. – Revealed fallen nature.
Should have been us. Just like Peter, we have to realize that what happened to Jesus, should have, and would have happened to us if he hadn’t stood in our place.
Like Peter, we all:
- Deny Christ.
- All fall short
Scripture: none really righteous. Not one.
The punishment that he took was the punishment we deserved.
Horrific ugliness of cross – our hearts When we see the horrific ugliness of the cross, we’re really seeing the horrific ugliness of our own hearts.
Darkness – hearts all people.
Just like with Peter, that should break us.
We need – w/o Christ – Hopeless
Shallow view sin – God’s grace. If we have a shallow view of our sin, we have a shallow view of God’s grace. It’s no big deal.
Eyes opened – Desperate need – God’s mercy
Still this huge gulf between what I know is true and what I live as true.
We’re absolutely dependent on God’s mercy and that’s all about the cross.
Not: self loathing – makes me love God more. That doesn’t bring self loathing shame into my life, it just makes me love God all the more.
Tonight: Let the cross rid your mind of all false views of yourself.
3. Peter found forgiveness at the cross and was transformed by it.
Peter wept for sin – we all should.
But weeping – joy – Jesus embraced.
Same is true w/us. We should weep for our sin, we need to is we're even gonna appreciate God's grace. But then we rejoice even more when we see God's love for us.
Tonight, look at cross – ugliness
Beauty – of Christ
Ugliness cross – beauty cross.
That’s what transforms us from the inside out.
He wins our heart.
Trades: Ashes – beauty. He begins to make something beautiful out of our life.
That love compels a change in us.
- Lost – found
- Blind – see
- At war with God – Peace with God
- Condemned – Justified
- Enemies of God – beloved bride.
- Destined for eternity of destruction – eternal life, joy, peace
All b/c of cross. – Beauty of the cross.
It’s the most transforming force in the universe.
The terrorizing God – scare you enough to change behavior.
Religion – rules, laws, threats of hell
Devil/Church – manipulate you – shame – change behavior
Won’t change who you are on the inside.
But when God’s love gets in, you see how beautiful it is b/c you see how much you don’t deserve it. – Real change.
Only grace – get to our heart.
Only transforming power of God’s love:
- Sinner – Saint
- Thief steals – Kingdom person who loves to give
- Self centered – other oriented, loves others
- A person who’d rather kill their enemies – give their life for an enemy.
- Cowardly Peter – brave martyr
compelled by love of God in all we do.
To see beauty – cross, first – ugliness of the cross. – Jesus bearing our sin.
Beauty – Christ
First: let cross expose you – give new life.
Ask yourself this question:
- What about your life did Jesus die for?
- In what way do you contribute to the ugliness of the cross?
- How has the cross healed you?
The cross of Christ is the beauty of God. Self sacrificing, kind, compassionate, forgiving, and full of grace. The cross simultaneously shows us the ugliness of sin and the beauty of Jesus Christ. No other God comes down and gives His life for you. No other God takes our sin, our shame, our past, our mistakes, and gives us His beauty, His wholeness, and His life in exchange. It’s all about the cross. It’s all about our ashes, and his beauty. Let the reality of the cross shape you. Let the reality of the cross define you. Let the reality of the cross give you purpose.
(Stay in your seats, ushers are gonna hand out communion elements.)
To remember Jesus. – His life, and His death.
“the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. (1 Corinthians 11:23)
We eat the bread
Remember Jesus’s body
We drink the cup
Remember the new covenant between God and His people
Jesus, as we eat this bread, we remember you. Dying a cowards death. Suffering and bleeding because of your love for us. Tonight, we remember the cross. The ugliness of our sin, and the beauty of Jesus. We receive you today, as if it were the first time. We find meaning in you, we find hope in you. Even in our weakness, we receive your love.
Let’s eat the bread
God as we drink from this cup, we remember the covenant of peace that is ours because of Jesus. Jesus, because of you, we have new life. Jesus, because of you, we have hope. Jesus because of you, we have eternal life. It’s all because of you.
The sacrifice that you made for us, that dark day, shows us how to live. Your beauty is overwhelming. And we love you.
Let’s drink from the cup