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The Rev. William Klock: “Three Times” (Luke 22:54-71)

October 31, 2015

Here is another sermon in the series on the Gospel of Luke being preached by the Rev. William Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia, titled Three Times.  This message is based on Luke 22:54-71, the passage in which Peter denies Christ three times.  As one would expect, Fr. Bill has some good thoughts about that passage, particularly the closing paragraphs:

Luke is leading us step by step to the foot of the cross, but here we see why Jesus went to the cross.  He went to the cross for sinners, but here we get a sense of what “sinner” means.  He went to the cross for Peter, who despite walking with him, seeing his ministry and his character and hearing him preach for three years, rejected him so easily, whether out of fear for his life or out of anger when Jesus rebuked him for trying to defend him.  Jesus went to the cross for men like the chief priest’s soldiers and the mob who arrested him, who beat him, who mocked him, and who blasphemed him.  Jesus went to the cross for the priests and scholars and politicians who had twisted the Scriptures and who had perverted justice, manipulating God’s people for the sake of their own agenda and their own power and their own authority.  Jesus went to the cross for his people, Israel, because they had failed, because her light had turned to darkness, because she had turned to cursing the nations rather than blessing them—some like Peter, some like the soldiers, some like the priests and elders.

But Brothers and Sisters, God elected Israel to be humanity’s representative.  Each of us can find our own rebellion, our own sin in these people, whether Peter or the soldiers or the priests.  If we can’t see ourselves in all of these categories in some way I think we can at least find ourselves in at least one or two of them.  How often to do we turn away from Jesus out of fear?  None of us have ever faced the threat of martyrdom for the sake of Jesus, but that only makes it worse that we are so easily silent about him, fearing that people will think we’re too religious or that we’re fanatics.  We may never intend to mock or blaspheme Jesus, but when others get going, how often do we allow ourselves to be dragged into their blasphemous “fun”?  And how often do we twist the Scriptures or the Good News to serve our own purposes, to condemn instead of to redeem, to build ourselves up while tearing others down?  Jesus endured all of our sins that night he was arrested and he took them with him to the cross, where they were nailed there with him.  Brothers and sisters, as we read the Passion story it’s inevitable that we cry for Jesus as he suffers rejection and torture and death.  But we should also feel shame as we make our way with Luke and with Jesus to the cross in these last chapters of the Gospel.  We should identify with Peter and with the soldiers and with the priests and scribes.  What they did to Jesus we have done to Jesus.  This is what sin looks like.  It’s not just an abstract theological concept; it’s real.  At it’s root, no matter what form it takes, it is rebellion against and rejection of the God who loves us.  But Friends, that also means that the redemption Jesus bought at the cross is just as real.  At the cross we find love and mercy and grace poured out for sinners—not for people who deserve it, but for people who have been living in rebellion: again, people like Peter and the soldiers and the priests—people like us.  And Peter is the example at the centre of today’s passage.  He rejected and renounced Jesus, but Jesus refused to let go of him.  Jesus died for Peter’s sins, Jesus died for Peter’s rebellion, Jesus died to give Peter a new life.  And because of the Cross, because of that new life, because Jesus refused to renounce Peter, the new Israel was born.  And the same is true for us.  Jesus died for our sins, Jesus died for our rebellion, Jesus died to give us new life.  Jesus has called us and he will not let go of us until he has brought us into his kingdom, until he has made us whole, until he has filled us with the life of his Spirit so that we, his Church, can be his light to the world, making righteousness and justice known, lifting high the cross, and proclaiming that the kingdom has come and that Jesus is Lord.

If you’d like to listen to the message, you can do so on the player below.

 

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