March 7, 2011

There Are Some Things that Blow Me Away

I preached yesterday on Peter's denial of Jesus from Mark 14:66-72. And even though the sermon is over, I keep going back to think about it. While Jesus was being interrogated by the High Priest, Peter was being questioned by a servant-girl; while Jesus spoke truly despite the danger, Peter called down a curse and swore that he did not know the Lord. Such a stark contrast between fidelity and faithlessness.

The thing that blows me away is the reality that Jesus went to the cross to bear the consequences of Peter's sins, the man who denied that he knew him and likely spoke a curse against him. Jesus died for Peter's sin of denying Jesus. I don't get that; it blows me away!

What could motivate the Lord to act with such profound and unfathomable kindness? What could cause him to act for the eternal benefit of this turncoat? Not long before Peter had stood before the others and declared Jesus to be the Christ; now he swears he knows him not. And Jesus was obedient unto death for him. Wow. The more I reflect on this portion of Mark's narrative, the more I realize I simply don't get the great and glorious grandeur of the majesty of the kindness of the One who alone is God. There is a richness to his mercy that confounds me. We speak of grace so often (and perhaps sometimes quite flippantly) that the word sometimes seems to lose meaning. When I pause to reflect on the grace of Christ that he would bear the wrath of God against Peter in Peter's place, I wonder if we should not use that word more carefully. He took the curse for the one who cursed him. And he took my curse. The pure selflessness of love like that is far above my feeble understanding.

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4 comments:

Luke said...

This is why I love reading the Gospels. They demonstrate for us in dramatic form the realities of substitution and representation.

Matt O'Reilly said...

Indeed, this passage puts some real particular flesh and blood on Jesus' statement that he came to give his life as a ransom in place of the many.

ἐκκλησία said...

Yet even still, Jesus does His mind blowing work; and it reverberant throughout the world.

I'm glad you experience this awe, and shared it to us, Matt.

Larry said...

What I also find amazing is that just before it happened he had washed Peter's feet . . . right alongside Judas. Again, to be somewhat Kinlawian, it was almost as if Jesus was saying, "Boys, have you really thought your plans through? Are you sure you know what you are saying and going to do? I've thought through mine, and may think through them again before the night's over with. Are you sure you'll stick with me?" And so, as you point out, Matt, when they didn't, he did.