What the Bible Is All About 11 The Cross

The cross – perspective – Peter

Always loved Peter. Jesus.

Natural leader. – 1st to speak – before thinking. 1st to act

Bold brave – Person of extremes – leaders often are.

Matthew 16

“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’s 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.”

Jesus “Peter, 3 times, before morning.”

Peter – sincere – proof – garden – ear

Jesus “put that sword away, live by the sword, die by the sword.”

Teaches peter fight – voilence – 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.

“Weren’t you with Jesus?” – “I don’t know the man.”

Here’s the question: “Bold, couragous – cowardly?”

He no longer had his military, all powerful messiah around.

Like on playground, a kid walks around feeling tough, cuz he’s got his big brothers hand.

Undernearth toughness – scarred little boy.

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, “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.

I have to imagine that Peter had mixed emotions when he heard the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen.

this man. Sincerely. Gave his life for him. – Happy that he’s alive.

Other hand: meant he’d have to face him. Shame.

Paul and Luke: Before Jesus appeared to disciples, appeared to Peter first.

When he was raised, first Mary Magdeline, women were courageous enough to go down there. Guys were still hiding.

“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: shame, gravel,

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.

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 conquoring, 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 & punishment. Lightning bolt throwing God.

Tribal God, loves our team and kills their team.

Our nation, our church, our race, –

Cross reveals:

  • 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.
  • He’s the God that unconditionally embraces all people at all times.

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.

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.

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 punushment we deserved.

When we see the horrific ugliness of the cross, we’re really seeing the horrific ugliness of our own hearts.

Darkness – our hearts.

Just like with Peter, that should break us.

We need – see sin – goner – w/o Christ.

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 – Deperate 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.

That doesn’t bring self loathing shame into my life, it just makes me love God all the more.

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 – feel his forgiveness.

Ugliness cross – beauty cross.

That’s what transforms us from the inside out.

He wins our heart.

Ashes – beauty. He begins to make something beautiful out of our life.

That love compells 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

Paul: “compelled by love of God in all we do.”

To see beauty – cross, first – ugliness of the cross. – Jesus bearing our sin.

First: let cross expose you – give new life.

Ask yourself this question:

What about your life did Jesus die for?

In what way did 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. The bible is about the cross. The bible is 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.