Sunday January 7, 2024.
Topic : “Love Wins”
“Let’s go back three years before our Gospel Lesson for this morning. Jesus had gone out and selected 12 men. They were your average everyday kind of guys…and Jesus found them doing your average everyday kind of things…and when Jesus found them He said to them “Follow me,” and they dropped their nets…
They left everything they had loved…everything that was familiar to them…and they did it…they followed Jesus! And in following Jesus, they saw some very amazing stuff. They met a lot of interesting people. And they began to notice that their priorities had begun to change in some of the most radical of ways.
The things that used to seem important to them…well, those things weren’t quite so important anymore. Instead, what was becoming most important was listening to Jesus teach, helping Jesus minister to the masses, following Jesus wherever the Spirit led.
And as time went by they became more and more convinced that Jesus was exactly who He said He was: The Son of God. The Messiah. They might not have understood exactly what that meant and what dimensions that would take, but they came to believe it more than anything else in the whole world.
And throughout the Gospels we are shown Peter who assumes that Jesus needs the perfect, the best, the smartest, bravest, and larger than life super-disciple! And so, he works hard to make himself that. Peter is the one who asks the BIG questions, makes confident declarations and brash decisions… …and even tries to protect Jesus with a sword.
Like Peter, have you ever tried to put on your best show for Jesus—the bravado, the promises, the right answers, the brave face? Eventually, though, the truth comes out, doesn’t it? Crumbling under pressure, Peter lies to protect himself. Far from being perfect, Peter is overcome by fear and it leads him to a place he never wanted to go—never dreamed he would go.
In John Chapter 13, when Jesus is telling the disciples about His upcoming death, He says to them, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” To which Peter asks Him, “Lord why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” “Then Jesus answered, ‘Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” Peter never would have believed it…if only, if only it hadn’t come true. Peter had failed Jesus.
And so, Peter is buried in shame, embarrassed that he isn’t who he wants to be, or who he thinks others want him to be.”
This sermon reminds us that even when we fail, love wins. Despite Peter’s failure, Jesus’ love for him never wavered. It’s a powerful message of forgiveness, redemption, and the transformative power of love