Immanuel Lutheran Church

Sermon

Pentecost 13 [Proper 14]

"Peter . . bold but conflicted!"

Matthew 16:21-26

September 3, 2017

Being bold and outspoken can work to your advantage. It's a sign of confident, strong personalities. Being bold had recently worked to Peter's advantage. He spoke confidently for the rest of the disciples when he affirmed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. After this bold confession of faith, Jesus called him a rock and said that He would build His church on that wonderful confession.

Now, a short time later, Peter once again demonstrates his boldness. This time it backfires on him. Peter finds his seemingly innocent and sincere attempt to protect Jesus is not part of God's plan. In fact, if Jesus would have listened to Peter, God's plan of salvation would not have been accomplished.

Read Matthew 16:21-26. From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."

Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?"

We all have good intentions. Most of the time our good intentions are things we should do, but don't. You've got a long list of nice things you should do for others but you haven't found the time. Here's the tip for today. Make the time and follow through on your planned good intentions.

Sometimes our good intentions are the things we do that are meant well but backfire, like Peter. Jesus has explained that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die at the hands of His enemies. Peter strongly objects. No! You can't let that happen. There had to be some other way.

When Jesus so strongly rebukes Peter, you can understand why he must feel confused and conflicted. "But Lord, I'm just looking out for your best interests!" The problem was that Peter and the other disciples had their own plan. They thought Jesus had come to re-establish the glorious kingdom of Kings David and Solomon. They wanted Him to throw out the hated Romans. Of course, they didn't have a clue as to how that was going to take place.

Interestingly, this shows their complete trust in Jesus. They believed that He could do anything. They probably figured He would throw out the Romans by simply commanding them to go just as He had exorcised demons from the possessed. In their minds, Jesus would do His thing and everyone would live happily ever after. We know that only happens in fairy tales. It doesn't happen now and didn't happen then.

Peter didn't get the big picture but can't you blame him. Who could imagine that Jesus would conquer through His death on the cross? We sort of get it because we looking at all this from hindsight. Peter was still looking ahead and nothing in his wildest imagination could picture the victory of the cross. The cross was an instrument of torture and death. What good thing could come from this cruel form of Roman capital punishment?

Peter was thinking only in terms of the theology of glory. What if Peter's good intentions had swayed Jesus? There would be no cross. Jesus would have been spared His agony but we would have no victory. As odd as it seems, Peter's good intentions would have landed everyone in hell. With the eternal destiny of all mankind at stake, it's no wonder Jesus sternly rebukes the very surprised Peter. "Get behind me Satan!"

Here is another lesson for Peter in learning what it meant to deny himself and follow Jesus. By going to the cross, Jesus "lost" His life but in the end saved ours. At this point how could Peter and how can we even today really comprehend the cross as God's chosen instrument of salvation? It's a mystery as Paul writes: "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out!"

What can we learn from Peter? Faith is learning what it is to trust God and yield to the will of God. The denial the Gospel speaks of is a denial of self-will, but not of life. Our Lord promises that He comes to bring us life filled with His many blessings. These blessings are our only through the cross. Luther explains the theology of the cross. Because sin controls the lives people, we need to be freed from its bondage. The problem is we can't free ourselves. This is where the cross comes in. The cross of Christ has redeemed us from the curse of sin. Because Christ has died for our sins and redeemed us from the power of death, we now live in loving service to others.

So what's the plan of action for today? Follow through on your good intentions to invite a friend to Bible study and church. Follow through on your good intentions to share the love of Jesus with someone who needs to hear that good news. Pray that the Lord will give you opportunities to love and serve others in His name.

We pray that the Lord will mold and shape us in such a way to make His good intentions our good intentions. We pray that His will becomes our will. Then we pray that He will give each of us the courage and determination we need to follow through with our good intentions!

The Lord reveals His good intentions to us in His Word. In His Word to He gives us insight and courage to live as His people of faith. The Lord comes to us today in the sacrament to strengthen our faith and give us His forgiveness for our lack of follow through. It is with the Lord's help that we learn His plan for us. Through His empowering, we follow through with His good intentions. He will lead us and work through us to accomplish His will. Then, we will do the things of God, not of men.

In Christ the good works He intends for us to do will be accomplished. We rejoice as the Lord's will is done in and through us, "for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever!" Amen.


September
09/24/2017
09/17/2017
09/10/2017
09/03/2017
August
08/27/2017
08/20/2017
08/13/2017
08/06/2017
July
07/30/2017
07/23/2017
07/16/2017
07/09/2017
June
06/25/2017
06/18/2017
06/11/2017
06/04/2017
May
05/21/2017
05/14/2017
05/07/2017
April
04/23/2017
04/16/2017
04/09/2017
04/02/2017
March
03/26/2017
03/19/2017
03/12/2017
03/05/2017
February
02/26/2017
02/05/2017
January
01/29/2017
01/22/2017
01/15/2017
01/08/2017
01/01/2017

December
12/25/2016
12/18/2016
12/11/2016
12/04/2016
November
11/27/2016
11/20/2016
11/13/2016
11/06/2016
October
10/30/2016
10/23/2016
10/16/2016
10/09/2016
10/02/2016
September
09/25/2016
09/18/2016
09/11/2016
09/04/2016
August
08/28/2016
08/21/2016
July
07/31/2016
07/24/2016
07/17/2016
07/03/2016
June
06/26/2016
06/19/2016
06/05/2016
May
05/29/2016
05/22/2016
05/15/2016
05/08/2016
05/01/2016
April
04/17/2016
04/10/2016
04/03/2016
March
03/27/2016
03/20/2016
03/13/2016
03/06/2016
February
02/28/2016
02/21/2016
02/17/2016
02/14/2016
02/07/2016
January
01/31/2016
01/24/2016
01/03/2016
01/01/2016

December
12/27/2015
12/20/2015
12/13/2015
12/06/2015
November
11/22/2015
11/15/2015
11/08/2015
11/01/2015
October
10/25/2015
10/18/2015
10/11/2015
10/04/2015
September
09/27/2015
09/20/2015
09/13/2015
09/06/2015
August
08/30/2015
08/23/2015
08/16/2015
08/09/2015
08/02/2015
July
07/26/2015
07/19/2015
07/12/2015
07/05/2015
June
06/28/2015
06/21/2015
06/14/2015
06/07/2015
May
05/31/2015
05/24/2015
05/17/2015
05/10/2015
April
04/19/2015
04/12/2015
04/12/2015
04/05/2015
March
03/29/2015
03/22/2015
03/15/2015
03/08/2015
February
02/15/2015
02/15/2015
02/08/2015
02/01/2015
January
01/25/2015
01/25/2015
01/18/2015
01/11/2015
01/04/2015

December
12/28/2014
12/21/2014
12/14/2014
12/07/2014
November
11/23/2014
11/16/2014
11/09/2014
11/02/2014
October
10/12/2014
10/05/2014
September
09/28/2014
09/21/2014
09/14/2014
09/07/2014
August
08/31/2014
08/24/2014
08/17/2014
08/10/2014
08/03/2014
July
07/27/2014
07/20/2014
07/13/2014
07/06/2014
June
06/29/2014
06/22/2014
06/15/2014
06/08/2014
06/01/2014
May
05/11/2014
April
04/27/2014
04/20/2014
04/13/2014
04/06/2014
March
03/30/2014
03/23/2014
03/16/2014
03/02/2014
February
02/02/2014
January
01/26/2014
01/19/2014
01/12/2014
01/05/2014