Life’s not always easy. It doesn’t go as we have planned. But God had his plan and it was more than any could have imagined!
Jesus had been dropping hints that the end was near, but the disciples didn’t seem to understand what he was saying. Judas had already agreed to turn Jesus over to the Pharisees. His betrayal already set into motion as they sat at the table one last time in observance of Passover.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, ”The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.Luke 22:24-30
Jesus was preparing for what lay ahead. He offers a new promise represented by the bread (his body) and the wine (his blood). Many prophecies were about to come true about the Son and the death that he had to die on a cross so that sins could be forgiven and eternal life could become reality for those who loved and believed in him.
In the next verses he speaks to Peter, also called Simon.
31 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.Luke 22:31-32a
Jesus knows that Peter is going to fail. He’s going to let people down, break commitments he’s made, and he will sin. But in the very next breath…
32b And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”Luke 22:32b
Jesus doesn’t say ”if” you turn back, he says “when”. Jesus is certain that these things will come to pass.
As I type this blog post, It hits me what our pastor was getting at. We spend so much time talking about repentance, but that alone is not what we’re told to share with others. It isn’t the Gospel. It’s only part of the story.
Repentance alone doesn’t cause change.
The word for repentance driven people is ”Pharisee”, another word ”religious”. For them, turning back will never be enough. There will always be one more hoop that you’ve got to jump through for them.
They choose to judge and they forget that Jesus offers grace. Shouldn’t we offer grace as well? That what our churches should be offering to the lost. The grace of Jesus is so radical, so powerful!
Jesus tells Peter ”and when you turn back, strengthen your brothers”!
That’s what we should be about! None of us are perfect. We all sin. And a sin is a sin no matter who we are.
The takeaway from this sermon:
- Take the grace we’ve been given and use it to strengthen others…
- Not a class or a small group study. Not something you cross off a list
- But a life, lived in the fullness of Christ’s grace, to the overflowing of that grace into the lives of others. Leading them to their return to a loving Savior and the promise of a Risen Christ.
- Judas could have changed his story, but he chose pride and greed, guilt and shame, because he wouldn’t accept grace.
- How did Jesus restore Peter? He told him to go strengthen others.
- We decide every day if we will turn back towards grace and walk with Christ.
- Are we going to build someone up or tear them down?
The tomb is still empty. He is still risen.
Turn into grace and strengthen each other.
I hope this post has been beneficial to you in your walk with Jesus.