Sermon preached at Poole High School for Poole Christian Fellowship on 13 March 2016
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As we go through this vital 24 hour period leading up the death of Jesus, we have an intimate piece of dialogue in which Jesus is preparing his disciples for the storm that they are about to go through, and through them he prepares us for the battles that we face as believers day by day
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’[b]; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
1. Living with the Battle
Day by day we experience the battle as the enemy tries to get us to turn our backs on God. Here we learn that, as in the case of Job, the enemy has to specifically ask permission from God to attack us. That being the case we may be sure that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear, and that we have a continuous prayer of Jesus to sustain us, so that, even when we mess us, it will be possible for us to be restored. The fact is , that even in his darkest hour, Peter’s faith does not fail, and God still has a plan for us.
2. Casualties in the Battle
We make the most extravagant claims about our devotion to Jesus! What Peter says is not very different from the things that we sing every time we come to worship. We must not read this as Jesus being dismissive. He is in fact affirming what Peter has said, saying in effect that he understands it and accepts it…but sadly he knows that even though the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. It is not as if it doesn’t matter that we fail to live up to the bold promises we make. The point is that Jesus has it covered, that he understands, that he does not reject us because of our failings.
3. Preparation for the Battle
As often happens, the disciples fail to understand what Jesus is talking about here. There is a need to for us to be spiritually ready, to equip ourselves for the battle, and above all to be armed with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God.
4. The Ultimate Battle
Does all this sound too much? Well, in many ways it is. But we must remember that Jesus has fought, and won, the ultimate battle. A few hours from the time when Jesus spoke this word he would be “numbered with the transgressors”. This mean that he is one of us. He understands our weaknesses. He has lived through it, and He has conquered on our behalf. Because He has won, we too have won.
“Who will rescue me form this body of death? Thanks be to God”