by Rev. Vincent X. Shaw, M.Div.
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Tags: hard feelings, tragic results, school friend
Pastor: John 18:11: [Jesus said,] “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given Me?” Misunderstanding is dangerous. You can fail an examination in school, lose a friend, or generate hard feelings in your family because of a misunderstanding. The great¬est danger of all is that misunderstanding can destroy you spiritually. Assisting Minister 1: Doubt and misunderstanding go back to the beginning. Satan planted doubt in the mind of Eve by questioning her understanding. Assisting Minister 2: Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” Are you sure you understood Him correctly? Pastor: We are aware of the tragic results. Ever since, Satan has used doubt and misunder¬standing to destroy people. Tonight we confess, All three: It’s Jesus, Peter, and me; and it’s all about misunderstanding— Pastor: for Peter, for the other disci¬ples, and for us. Assisting Minister 1: But we will go beyond misunderstanding to the true meaning of our Lord’s mission. All three: Jesus Himself defined His mission in these words: “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” [THEME HYMN] I. Pastor: The mission is under way. We find Jesus and His dis¬ciples in Gethsemane. Look, a crowd led by Judas approaches, armed with a varied assortment of weapons. There is an exchange of words: Jesus strides forward and asks, Assisting Minister 1: Whom do you seek? Assisting Minister 2: Jesus of Nazareth. Assisting Minister 1: I am He. Pastor: They draw back and fall to the ground. They are not struck down by mere words. Armed men are struck down before an unarmed man by divine power. Jesus’ surrender is willing. Of His own free will, He goes forth to lay down His life for the world. Assisting Minister 2: But now Peter’s confidence begins to crack. Imag-ine what is going through his mind. What has happened seems incredible to him. Assisting Minister 1: Everything they had hoped for—an earthly kingdom, places of honor and power in that kingdom—it’s all collapsing. The master is taken captive. Assisting Minister 2: But Peter still musters courage. He feels he must rise to the situation. Impulsively, he strikes out with a sword, cut¬ting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. Pastor: Peter still misunderstood Jesus’ mission on earth. Had he recalled how Jesus had told His disciples His kingdom was not of this world, how He had told them He must suf¬fer and die, Peter would have seen that the course of events were now fitting neatly into the prophetic pattern. Assisting Minister 1: He would have seen that Jesus must be taken, tried, condemned, and crucified. II. Pastor: What form does misunderstanding Jesus take today? We misunderstand Him, for example, if we look to Him only as a source of material blessings for this life. Assisting Minister 1: That’s wanting God on our side, as a kind of Santa Claus, to fill life with all good things. Assisting Minister 2: So we are sorry that our sins may deprive us of some earthly blessings. Pastor: But we are not always sorry that our sins grieve God or hurt other people. Assisting Minister 2: We repent for fear that God will take away the things of this world. Pastor: But we are slow to repent for fear that sin will separate us from God. We misunderstand Jesus if we look to Him only for the hour of death and for eternity. Assisting Minister 1: That’s thinking of Him as a kind of insurance policy whose value kicks in only at death. Assisting Minister 2: We’re not always interested in Christ and His will for our life today and tomorrow. Pastor: We want a Savior, but not a Lord. We want forgiveness of sin, but are slow to seek strength to overcome sin now, in Christ-like living. We misunderstand Jesus if we see Him and the Church only as a status symbol. Assisting Minister 1: Then faith descends to calling ourselves Christian in name only. Assisting Minister 2: We want to say we are members of a church. We want a place to be married and a place to be buried, and not much more. Pastor: None of this will do. Jesus wants to be Savior and Lord of every moment of every day of every year of our life and into all eternity. Assisting Minister 2: Why? Assisting Minister 1: Because anything less than this is death. Pastor: He wants to forgive us now, to help us live a new life now, to learn to love as He loves, and to serve as He serves. Assisting Minister 2: Why? Assisting Minister 1: Because this is life instead of death. Pastor: If we don’t look to Him for all of this, we misunderstand Him. This satanic deception stands between us and Christ, and we are in danger of being lost, now and forever. III. Pastor: But Jesus does not give up on the lost. Remember? Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost. Jesus under¬stood His mission. Follow the action of our text. Jesus did not let anything, not even Peter’s sword, prevent Him from going to the cross: Assisting Minister 1: Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup...