That Look of Jesus - Luke 22:31-34; 54-62 NIV
Today we consider the life cycle of a genuine Christian. Why is it important? Because we live in two ways. We are born physically. Then we are born spiritually. We can be walking around in a physical sense yet be walking dead in a spiritual sense.
This is especially important when we become disappointed in ourselves and our Christian performance. Are we real? Authentic? Or just fooling ourselves? Peter demonstrates what we all go through. And good to know that Jesus is cheering us on. Praying for us!
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32 NIV
5 Marks of Our Christian Growth:
1. Christian Hubris: I ______________ my Christianity.
We all have idealized concepts of what it means to be a Christian. How we are raised to what we were taught to what we’ve always thought.
But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Luke 22:33 NIV
It’s perfectly natural to think that if we were a Christian that we would do it right. That’s why critics say there are only hypocrites in that church. Truth is that none of us are perfect ever, but especially when we begin. We think we are better than what we are. We fail to realize the depth of our depravity. But often we try to live like a Christian…
2. Christian Crisis: I _____________ my inability.
This is where the crisis comes in. No one can do it. We don’t have the ability. And often our inability comes right at the point that we thought we were so strong. Peter thought that he would go to prison or die. But the reality…
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today,
you will deny three times that you know me.” Luke 22:34 NIV
And it came true just like Jesus said it would!
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”
Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. Luke 22:60 NIV
This recognition brings on crisis? Why crisis? Because it is exactly at this point that we either give up, fake out, or move through.
(1) Give up - I just can’t do it so I won’t even try.
(2) Fake out - Pretend to be a Christian but not really. Still relying on my own strength. Pray but never experience power of God’s Holy Spirit. Prayer as last resort.
(3) Move through. This is hard and painful. But it’s a wall every authentic Christian goes through.
3. Christian Genesis: I _____________ my failure.
When we come face to face with our own depravity and the fact that we cannot please Jesus through our own efforts alone - that becomes agony for us.
The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered…
and he went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:61-62 NIV
We have a word for this deep emotional sorrow for our sins. It’s called contrition. It is the beginning of our reconciliation to God. Without the feeling of sorrow for our failure, our confession means little, and our repentance even less. It’s important to recognize that Christ died for us and loved us regardless of our own imperfection.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
Once we understand this truth about Jesus - his unconditional love even at the point of our sinfulness - we have room to respond. We agonize our failure (contrition) - we have a “contrite” heart - and that leads us to confession (agreement with God) and then to repentance (change of direction).
This is where authentic Christianity begins - Contrite, Confession, Repentance…
4. Christian Phoenix: I _______________ my love.
The rest of Peter’s story - his reconciliation to Jesus - is told in John 21…
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me? He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17 NIV
3x “Do you love me, feed my sheep” Why 3x? Reflects the 3 betrayals. Do I have to name each sin? You committed each of them! More than a reminder of Peter’s failure, this 3x was also an emphasis of Jesus’ restoration. 3x “Feed my sheep!” 3x Peter’s calling and purpose. Had not changed. Peter still had his job! He was still going to be the leader!
Why the 3x “Do you love me?” What was now and forevermore going to be the source of Peter’s strength and affection? No longer for himself, but for Jesus! Which ALSO means his faith could now be solid. Wasn’t dependent on his own perfection. (Peter wasn’t perfect still.) But since his faith was based on his love of Jesus RATHER than himself, he was good to go for the rest of his life.
This is why we use the word, “metabolize.” Means to change. A caterpillar “metabolizes” into a butterfly. It is forever changed. The same is true of an authentic Christ-follower. The person who calls himself a Christian but is still at #1 above is dependent upon himself. Will fail. His faith will falter. Still in love with himself and comes to Jesus full of himself. (“I will never deny you!”) When we change / metabolize our love from ourselves to Jesus, then God can use us like a phoenix rising from the ashes into God’s purposeful life…
5 Christian Oasis: I ___________ my purpose.
We all have different purposes. Not many have the genuine purpose to serve to martyrdom. But Peter did! Do you remember what he promised? “I will follow you to prison and even unto death!” Yet on that night of nights, he denied Jesus 3x. Yet it was still his highest calling / purpose…
“But even if you should suffer for what I right, you are blessed. Do not fear their threats. Do not be frightened. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:14-15 NIV
30-40 years before Jesus affirmed his own faith in Peter that he would indeed live his life and give his life for Jesus. That Peter would be faithful!
“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John 21:18 NIV
Tradition holds that Peter died a martyr’s death on the cross. Unlike Jesus, Peter insisted on being crucified upside down, because he thought himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Christ.
This may not sound like a good thing, but remember that few people are a Peter and called to be faithful even to the death penalty. We do have to ask “What is my purpose?” What are You calling ME to do for You, Lord Jesus? That may be something we even sense before our salvation, but we fail to live up to it.
What about you? Where are you at? Are you stuck? Do you need to move through one of these markers of Christian faith?