No one likes to get into trouble
From the time we are born we tend to do everything we can to avoid trouble, pain and suffering… And do everything possible to make our lives as comfortable as possible.
Illustration: The power of 1… 2… 3…
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, didn’t want to get into trouble either
He had followed Jesus for three years. And the longer he followed Jesus the more he seemed to think that this was a good thing.
But when Jesus got into deep trouble with the Jewish authorities and it became clear that Jesus was going to die for what He taught and did… Peter began to wonder whether it was a good thing and whether it was worth the trouble to keep following Jesus especially if it meant he would be killed too.
Luke 22: 54 – 62
And yet, although Peter denied knowing Jesus in the face of trouble…
Jesus was willing to get into trouble
At His trial, Jesus didn’t defend Himself (which He done so well before). He willingly took the false verdict and false sentence.
Luke 23: 1 – 5 / 13 – 25 / 32 – 46
He didn’t use His power as God to save Himself… but He was willing to face the trouble and die.
To save others… To save Peter and all of us from different trouble (explain gospel – focus on trouble as sin).
And that sounds amazing, but still…
Is it worth the trouble following Jesus?
Because all around the world it seems people have to face all sorts of trouble for following Jesus.
Maybe Peter was right to duck?
Well, listen to what happened to Peter later on
After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, John’s gospel tells us that He went and found Peter and forgave him for his denial. Jesus reinstated Peter as one of His main disciples. That is what Jesus does, He seeks you out, forgives you… that is what He died on the cross to achieve.
On the day of Pentecost Jesus gave Peter spiritual life and faith, by His Holy Spirit, and Peter saw and understood the reality of who Jesus was and what He had done on the cross and through His resurrection… and Peter got it… it changed his life forever.
He was empowered to see the reality and truth that Jesus would always be with him, in all circumstances, even trouble.
Life is always full of trouble anyway, so why not be in the kind of trouble that Jesus got into… with Jesus close to him?
He would die one day anyway, so why not die for the One who died for him and was always with him and would be even closer in heaven after death?
And so, Peter became one of Jesus’ bravest followers (not perfect but brave).
Peter became willing to get into the fire of trouble for Jesus and His cause to save people from sin.
The most commonly accepted church tradition is that Peter was crucified upside-down in Rome. Tradition says that, when Peter was put to death, he requested to be crucified on a cross upside down. The reason for his request was that, because he had denied his Lord, he did not consider himself worthy to die as Jesus had.
In fact, of all the other disciples that essentially deserted Jesus before He was crucified, all but one willingly died for Jesus and His cause.
They also believed the truth that Jesus was worth it and would always be with them and would never let them go…
He was God, and even though they could not see Him anymore they knew He was with them… no matter what trouble they went through. He had said He would never leave or forsake them / He was always with them and He had proven Himself faithful again and again.
What about you?
Is your life consumed (whether obvious or hidden) with exhausting, continuous, fear driven running from trouble, suffering and pain… and in the end, it comes anyway?
There is a way to be free from that.
The scandal of Peter’s experience shows us that Jesus is worth the trouble!
- He loves you to death!
- He will forgive your sin
- He will take away your judgement
- He will give you a new life… eternal life
- He will always be with you, through all trouble, helping and comforting you through
- And even though He might give you trouble to be a part of, like He went through, you will go through it with purpose, free from disabling fear and He will fill your heart with joy
So, what is stopping you from a positive response to Jesus this morning? No one who has truly received life from Jesus has regretted it.
I am going to give you an opportunity to do so this Good Friday…
T-Lights: If you willing…
- Ask Him to save you
- Forgive your sins
- Give you new life
- Set your heart alight with His love
- Commit to living for Him and the trouble that might come from that
- Lay your life down for Him and spreading His love to the world no matter what the trouble