8/12/18 – Deny, Deny, Denied

Posted on : Aug 9th, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Two weeks ago, we met Joseph’s bad-boy brothers.  They deeply resented that their father loved Joseph more than the rest of them.  In fact, they resented Joseph so much, that they tried to kill him.  Not the greatest ethical behavior in the world, especially for the twelve brothers who would become the twelve tribes of Israel! 

This Sunday we encounter another fickle group of twelve:  The Disciples.  These twelve also fought among themselves about who was loved the most, and who was the most valuable or important among them.  This kind of bickering drove Jesus crazy.  He hated it.  Each time he encountered it, he pushed the bar lower. Yes, lower, not higher.  “Whoever is the least among you will be the greatest,” Jesus says.  That is not exactly what they hoped to hear. 

On the night before his arrest and subsequent death, Jesus gathered The Twelve for a final common meal.  At that meal he told them some truths about themselves and their actions that they didn’t want to hear.  First, Jesus announced that one among them was going to betray him.  Turns out, that fate fell to Judas.  Then Jesus announced that all of them would forsake or abandon him out of fear that they would be crucified along with him.  And then he announced to Peter, the one whom Jesus had chosen to be the next “Shepherd of the flock,” that he would deny knowing him, not once, not twice, but three times before the cock crowed signaling the break of dawn. 

This scenario must have been unbelievably depressing for Jesus.  The Twelve, whom Jesus nurtured, taught, led and empowered were one hot mess.  One was going to betray him.  His chosen successor was going to deny knowing him – three times.  And all of them were going to flee in fear.  Something tells me this is not the way Jesus had expected this to end. 

Or was it?

Why are there so many imperfect people in our story of faith?  Why are so many “bad boys and bad girls” featured in our story of faith?  Can’t we find a few folks, like you and me, who are, if not perfect at least near perfect, in this magnificent story of faith? 

Perhaps there is a reason why there are so many imperfect people in this story.  More on that this Sunday.    



Matthew 26: 26-35 & 69-75

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”  Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks Jesus gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you;  for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in our God’s kindom.”

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”

Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.”  Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.”  Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”  But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”  When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”  Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”  After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.”  Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed.  Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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