Thursday, April 2, 2015

“Will You Really Lay Down Your Life For Me?” – X. “When Jesus Asks”

Will You Really Lay Down Your Life For Me?” – X. “When Jesus Asks”

Zechariah 9:9-11; John 13:36-38

Sunday, March 29 – Palm Sunday

Sermon by The Rev. Dr. John A. Dalles


So on the one hand we have Jesus and on the other hand we have Peter, his most famous disciple.

          The conversation is unfolding in the Upper Room.  Jesus is preparing the disciples for what is to come.

          Peter is a man of bravado.  Of boldness.  A risk taker.  A maker of unexpected moves.  He is the one who leapt out of the water to walk toward Jesus…and for a moment or two, Peter also walked on the water.

          He is making another one of those leaps of faith right now. 

          The outcome is a lot like what happened when he leapt out of the boat.

          Peter’s intentions are good, his focus is right.


Peter’s intentions are good, because they are faith based.  He is eager to go where his faith will take him.  Even if it is into risky and dangerous places.

          Faith often prompts people to go to where it is risky.  And where it is dangerous.  We are to risk putting our personal security aside, so that we can go and do what God intends.  We are to trust in God and let God deal with the danger.  We see that again and again…


So for Peter and for us, having good intentions is a plus.



Peter’s focus is right.

          His focus is on Jesus.  He learned with the boat and the walking on water incident, you have to keep your eyes on Jesus.  When Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water.  When he looked away from Jesus, he began to sink.

          "Look beyond the danger" "look to Jesus"

          As you head into a new day. …Look to Jesus.

As you head into a new responsibility…Look to Jesus.

As you head into a new challenge…Look to Jesus.

As you head into a new season of life…Look to Jesus.

          The goal and focus of Jesus’ ministry

-      with those disciples for three years…

-      with each disciple who has come along since then…

-      with you throughout your unfolding years

-      and even unto today…

The goal and of Jesus’ ministry is that you will Look to Jesus.

-      Look to Jesus the source and center of your faith.

-      Look to Jesus the church's one foundation.

-      Look to Jesus your only hope and help:

-      Look to Jesus.

Now, at that moment of their conversation in the upper room, Peter was determined to keep his eyes on Jesus.

          How could he know that in a few short days, he would be quaking in fear when people in the courtyard of [] identified him as one of Jesus’ followers?  How could he know that when the chips were down, he would crumble?  Peter did not know how soon his boldness and bravado would be put to the test.  And how miserably he would fail that test.

          Listen to Jesus: “Will You Really Lay Down Your Life For Me?”

          Will you?


          Jesus knows what no one else knows.  Jesus knows how Peter will react to the charge that he is a disciple of Jesus. 

          The question is, how will each of us react?

-      Do we know?

-      Are we as certain as Peter was…

He is the fellow who said, “Even if we must die with you—Jesus—we will not desert you.”

          Yet before very long, Peter is the one who denied Jesus three times.


The question is, how will each of us react?

Do we know?

Can we know…?

Being a Christian means that we are being called by God into unfamiliar situations.  Places where we feel as unprepared and as valuable as Peter did in the courtyard. 

          Such moments feels a bit scary, because there is so much uncertainty attached to it.

          What will happen if I do this or that?

How will people react?

Certainly Peter thought that he would be in grave danger if they knew for sure that he was one of Jesus’ disciples.

          A few days before, there he was among friends and wonderful fellow-disciples, and the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus and things were great.

They could all agree, what a fantastic ministry that we have.

          Then, in what seemed a twinkling of an eye, it all changed.

          Familiarity has a certain comfort to it.  But it seems that when we go with Jesus we are always going in the direction of the unfamiliar.

          We are going on wilderness journeys, or mountaintop  heights, or raging storms, or any number of situations that could catch us off guard.  We are asked to step out in to the fearful places, the unfamiliar places. 

          We know it is a risk— and we sense that it can be a good and faithful thing to do.

          The question is, how will each of us react?

Do we know?

Can we know…?


Jesus knows how every one of his followers will react in tight places. 


Have you been watching Downton Abbey?  One of the character is Carson, who sort of runs the servant part of the stately home.  Carson is concerned with every detail of how the house functions so that it ser4ves the owner and his family well.  He is also concerned about the large staff, that they know their work and do it well.  Carson is famous for maintaining traditions.  Carson is also famous for being reluctant to have innovations…the telephone…radio…

          Carson is a good servant, and almost a great servant.  If only he were not so reluctant to take on the new and next assignment…

          Bible says that we are Jesus’ servants.  Servants, God assigns for this or that kind of service.  Servants, who go and do as it seems best to God. It can be a great privilege and honor to have been assigned here of there. 

          Most importantly, though, we are to be ever-ready for that next assignment.

I suspect that in many of our lives, right now, Jesus is hanging out our next assignment.

          Are we ready?

          Jesus tells Peter that the immediate future is going to be a letdown.  And he tells peter that the more distant future will have great challenges.

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.”


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will;

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but have to sigh;

When care is pressing you down a bit—

Rest if you must; but do not quit.


Success is failure turned inside out;

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;

And you can never tell how close you are

It may be near when it seems so far—

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—

It is when things go wrong that you must not quit.







No comments: