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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pride, Fear, and Humility


This is a preview of my message this Sunday morning at Bethany Place

It’s disturbing to find yourself emotionally numb in situations where you know that you really ought to be feeling something. It’s possible that the sheer amount of news, entertainment, and information to which we are exposed has a way of desensitizing us to all but the most outrageous incidents. Combine that with a hectic life and a long to do list and you can find yourself not feeling much of anything.

Whether we think about this or not, I believe most of us understand that we are supposed to not only know who Jesus is and what he accomplished on the cross but we are to also feel, and feel deeply. Somehow we know that praying, or picking up our bibles to read, or attending a worship service should be occasions where we experience real love, or are moved to compassion, or confession, or genuine adoration. But that doesn’t happen automatically for me, I’m guessing that it does not for you either.

I mention these things because I am finding that this lingering look that I am taking through the final incidents in Jesus’ life is provoking in me new love for Jesus and new desire to honor him with my life. I have the luxury of the deadline of knowing that many will come Sunday praying, perhaps even desperately hoping to hear a word from God. This knowledge, along with the tremendous responsibility I have been given by God, drives me to long hours alone with these texts. I pray that you will join me Sunday as we inch closer to examining the greatest act of love and sacrifice ever. You can see Sunday’s scripture text, sermon title and outline below.

God bless you,

Gene

Pride, Fear, and Humility
Mark 14:26-31, 66-72

Mark 14:26–31 (ESV)
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” 30 And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

Mark 14:66–72 (ESV)
66 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” 71 But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Questions for further reflection for individuals, groups, or families
Why do think Jesus chose to warn the disciples in advance that they would all fall away?
How would remembering that Jesus knows about your failures in advance help you cooperate more with what God is saying to you now through his word, through other people, and through circumstances?
Why do you think Peter was so insistent that he would be loyal to Jesus even if no one else would?
How would you describe the difference in Peter’s denial, the disciple’s abandonment, and Judas betrayal of Jesus?
Contrast the difference in Jesus’ and Peter’s composure under pressure throughout the incidents recorded in Mark 14:26-72.

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