Good morning everyone! Welcome back to our last part of our Evangelistic Series. Today is a special day because we will have baptisms and together we will share the joy of some of our brothers and sisters that have decided to give their life to our Savior Jesus Christ and have the desire to follow Him.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Gospel and, our brothers who are baptizing can agree with me, is the way Jesus Christ loves us despite of what we end up doing even to Him.
The story of Peter is one of my personal favorites.
After being with Jesus for quite some time, there was a moment in the life of Peter that He questioned himself and his decisions.
We saw last time we were together how Moses questioned who He was and I hope that you were able to read the story and see that God was with Him in every moment and the people of Israel was delivered from Egypt. On the other hand, one aspect is common in many of the stories from the Bible.
Being able to be with God and see all of His miracles upon our life doesn’t necessarily mean that we will not betray Him.
In the case of Peter, things got out of hand. So, Jesus was arrested by soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and pharisees and was taken into the High priest courtyard. On the other hand, the bible tells us in Luke 22:54 that Peter followed Jesus at distance. Now, I want you to understand something: Peter had been with Jesus for quite some time and people recognized His apostles. Their reputation followed them and wherever they went, people knew by now that they were followers of Jesus and also His disciples.
So, Peter was there, looking at His master at distanced being questioned and probably hit in the face, probably with several wounds around his body and all that Peter could do is just look.
So, the verse 55 says
“And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them”
The New International Version. (2011). (Lk 22:55). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
If you can imagine for a second, Peter is just outside the doors of where Jesus is being questioned and he sat in a bonfire with other people. So, the bible says that a servant girl (probably a slave) saw him seated and she looked closely at him and said “This man was with him. But Peter denied it. “Woman, I do not know him”
Again, someone else saw him and said “You are also one of them” and Peter said “Man! Im not” The book of Matthew 26:70 agrees that Peter said “I do not know what you are talking about” or “I do not know the man”
In Luke, one last time someone said “This fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean” People knew Peter not only because he was follower of Jesus, but because apparently they also knew him more personally and recognized him from a certain region, in this case Galilee.
This last time, Peter went mad even at the point of cursing and swearing stating “I do not know the man!” this is in Matthew 26:74
At this exact moment, the bible says that the rooster crowed. If you go back on verse 34 of the same chapter in Luke 22, Jesus had already had told him that He will deny Him 3 times before the rooster crowed.
I do not know about you brothers and sisters but we can learn 3 things about Peter’s reactions.
People will recognize you when you have walked with Jesus. There has been many stories from our members that have said that people would say “You look different” or “You are not who you used to be” There are others who would say, “You know, I can feel that you have come to be more peaceful, more understanding” Stories of wives and husbands who would agree that their entire relationship changed when they began to follow Jesus Christ. Even today brothers and sisters, we do have people here who began to follow Jesus, who listened to His voice and began to experience something amazing in their life up until the point of giving their life to Jesus in Baptism. We will be transformed in character, mind and even in our bodies when we decide to be with Jesus. And brothers, people will see it.
Denying Jesus at the point of cursing can happen to many of us. Even when most of the disciples ran away, Peter was there to see Jesus. When we read the story, we sometimes talk about his betrayal, but it is important to recognize that he was there. On the other hand, fear consumed Peter. When he saw that soldiers took Jesus, he began to be afraid. Afraid of what they could of done to him. But if you remember, the Pharisees were not looking for the Apostles, they were looking for Jesus. So, why was Peter so afraid when asked if he was with Jesus? Why was so important to Him that people knew that He did not knew the man? Peter recognized that by stating that He was with Him, people will began to see him differently, treating him differently and even punishing him for something that they thought Jesus did wrong. Brothers, when we follow Jesus, the same people that recognize that we have changed, can also criticize who we have become. People would start questioning you about your past, (just as their mentioned to Peter that he was from Galilee) and probably fear will be in your heart. The people who are here to be baptized have recognized this challenged and want to make it public that they know that Man! They want to express to all of you that regardless of their past, they love Jesus and they want to follow Him. Take your fear out of your heart my brother and stand firm of your faith
Jesus will look at you and love regardless of your betrayal. Only in the book of Luke, in verse 61, the bible says “the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” I can’t imagine what Peter felt at that moment. Peter had just denied Him 3 times and Jesus looked at Him. The bible doesn’t tell us the emotions and thoughts that passed by the heart and mind of Peter and Jesus, but one thing is sure: Peter remembered what the Jesus had told Him and he went outside and wept bitterly. I do not know what Jesus could of said, even when I have an idea, but Peter felt like He was the worst person in the world. He had just denied His master, the one who He had previously reassured that He will follow even to death. He just denied the one who teach him to love roman soldiers, the one who showed him miracles even when Peter was a fisherman. He just denied the one He loved. Brothers and Sisters, there is probably some among you that have denied Him in a certain point of your life. But one thing is clear, Jesus looks at you with love! Jesus looks at you not with anger and punishment, but with with the Love of a Creator, the love of a Redeemer, the love of our Savior.
You may ask, Pastor, how can you be sure that Jesus looked at Peter with love? Well, after Jesus was crucified for our sins, rose from the death, He appeared again to His disciples.
We see the story in John 21:15. John describes the moment as something between Jesus and Peter. The first question that Jesus said to Peter was “Simon, Son of John, do you love me more than these?” and Peter responded, “Yes! Lord. you know that I love you!” and Jesus said “Feed my lambs” He asked him again and on the third time, verse 17 says “Do you love me?” and Peter said “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!”
I would suggest, that when Jesus looked at him that night when Peter denied him, Jesus in His mind asked “Peter, do you love me?” and this is why Peter cried desperately that night because he could not said “YES LORD! I DO LOVE YOU!”
This third time, Peter understood the love of Jesus in a more deeper way and even recognized that Jesus knew everything, even the heart of the disciples.
Brothers and Sisters, today, I would like to ask them same question. Do you love Jesus? Do you love Jesus despite of what other people would say about you? Do you love Jesus even when fear appears in your life? I want you to come up with me here and say “YES LORD! YOU KNOW THAT EVERYTHING; YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU!”
The people who are about to be baptized have said the same by walking in the waters of baptism, and if there is some of you who have not yet made it public to the world, do not be afraid! Jesus looks at you with love, compassion, forgiveness and mercy! Come up and say to the World. I LOVE JESUS!