SER # 12W
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
SUNDAY MARCH 15TH 2020
4TH SUNDAY IN LENT
TEXTS: MATTHEW 26: 31 – 35
THEME: I WILL NOT DENY YOU.
Today is the fourth Sunday in Lent. This Lent season we are focusing on a study by Adam Hamilton called “Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple.”
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I hope that you are taking care of yourself at this time of coronavirus epidemic. Remember to Keep your social distance and to wash your hand.
Today we would like you to join me as we learn about Simon Peter who was one of Jesus 12 disciples. Simon Peter was actually the spoke person of the team. He tended to overreact and at time give quick answers that were not thought through. Yet he was one of the courageous one of the twelve. He was the one willing to try something new or commit to something unusual. Like wanting to walk on water or like taking up his sword to defend Jesus or answering that question who Jesus was. He made mistakes and times never able to live to his promises. It seems like Simon Peter might represent us in one way or the other.
In this passage we meet Jesus and his disciples preparing for his last visit in Jerusalem before Jesus would be crucified. Jesus tell the disciples of what was ahead of him. Simon Peter as usual stands up and let Jesus know that no matter what happened he will not abandon him even when everybody did. “Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, ‘Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so, said all the disciples.” (Matthew 26: 34-35)
Jesus moves from the mountain of transfiguration to the feet washing of the disciples. This is all in preparation for them to know that he was about to leave the earthly ministry to them.
Today I would like us to remind ourselves of these three lessons about our faith journey;
- Learn to wash each other Feet: Washing the people’s feet during Jesus time was a custom practiced in the middle east homes. It made sense in that most people wore open shoes and most of the street were dusty. It was an act of welcoming guest as well as keeping dust away from the mart that they sat on. But when Jesus opted to wash his disciples’ feet, he wanted to teach them an important lesson. A) It was a lesson of servanthood. Though Jesus was a leader he was s different kind of a leader. A leader who was willing to take a role of a servant. Jesus makes the same call to you and me that we become people who are willing to step up and serve others. B) It was a lesson of love. Feet are not the best part of our body that we wish someone to wash. By Jesus washing the disciple feet he was reminding them he was ready to deal with their vulnerability. We are called to wash each other feet without judging them or even shaming them. Let us be there for others even in the part of life they would rather not let the world know. This calls for trust and love. C) Jesus was he washed even the feet of Judas. When it comes to serving, we can’t just serve only those who agree with us, look like us speak like us but to serve in love all those that God has put on your path of life. our services vary. It could be just opening the door to an elderly, or listening to a young one, or donating blood, or sharing a toy or a warm coat. The list of the service that we can offer is unlimited.
- Let us stand for Jesus: Simon Peter as we mentioned earlier was one of the disciples who strongly felt no matter what happed he was to stand for Jesus. “Though all become deserters because of you I will never desert you…..” These are the words of Simon Peter but we know that before the cock crowed that night, he had denied Jesus three times. Jesus is willing to take us back as he did to Simon Peter despite many mistakes that he had made. Standing for Jesus means: A) Protecting what you believe is right before God. That might mean speaking against those things that don’t portray Jesus message of love. B) standing with the poor the marginalized, discriminated. C) standing for the needy and helpless in the society. By allowing yourself to be God’s helping hand wherever you find yourself. Always remember you are the face the hands and the feet of Jesus Christ here on this earth. Like Simon Peter you and I are not perfect but even in the midst of our failures Jesus does not give up on us. Therefore, we should do the same to those who come in contact with us where we are.
- Don’t hold on to your Past Mistakes: Simon Peter has taught has many lessons of life one being that he was quick to come back to Jesus to seek forgiveness for his mistakes. Every time Simon Peter came back Jesus would show him forgiveness. One time he even left the ministry and went back fishing after Jesus died. But Jesus went looking for him and called him back. We can therefore draw the following lessons: A) We are not perfect. But we are people willing to learn from Jesus and change our ways. To you Jesus says you are welcome to the kingdom come and take your place. Like Peter we may have denied him several times in our life but he is not giving up on us. B) We operate under the grace of God. This means despite our imperfection Jesus still loves us and wants us to know that we belong to the kingdom. He extends his hands of welcome to each one of us and for us is to reach out and he will hold our hand and walk with us as he did with Simon Peter on that storm to the boat. C) Don’t stand at the edge. This is when we choose not to be involved or speak out of an evil that is taking place when we ought too. People stand at the edge when there is racism, bullying and other bad things. We fail to speak out. Simon Peter found himself there. The call to you and me today is to speak out and never be afraid when there is injustice and other things that are not right whether is at home, at work, at school and social gathering. This is our call. D) Never allow yourself to be defined by your failures. Remember again Simon Peter failed many times but never allowed himself to be defined by that. He became the rock that the early church was built on. Remember that the Jesus we believe in is a Jesus of second, third, forth,…….chances. It does not matter how much you have goofed in the past Jesus is saying to you come and I will make you anew. Often our worst failures are what God might use to witness to his saving and forgiving grace. Let us tell our stories of struggle as a means of encouraging others.