The Cross and what it meansBro. David Chancellor
12/8/2002 6:00 PM
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. Then saith Jesus unto them all, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
These are the disciples before Jesus went to the cross. Jesus told them they would all be offended. All the disciples said that they wouldn't deny him. Jesus wanted them to see the difficulty that was before them. He knew that they were lacking something.
But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said; nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.
Peter did exactly what Christ said he would do. How did Christ know? He saw in Peter the problem that caused this to be the result. Peter really felt that he was ready to fight and die for Christ. He was ready for a literal fight. They felt like even if they were outnumbered they could still win because they had Christ. When Jesus was taken and was before the high priest, the picture seemed to change. Jesus began to look like a loser. They accused him of blasphemy because he said he was equal with God. Peter got scared. He saw Christ being abused and suffering. A shame got hold of him. Those who say they are dying for what they believe in can't do what's pictured of Christ here - being an outcast, derided, and shoved aside. This wasn't grand or glorious. Christ was condemned by the judge that was there. People would go to war before they would be made fun of. Peter denied Christ three times in the face of the shame of being associated with Jesus as he was being shamed and cast down.
1 Peter 4:1-5
Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;" This suffering isn't just physical pain. Someone who has been completely delivered from the power of sin can suffer as Christ suffered. Before Pentecost, Peter couldn't do what Christ did. Before sanctification, you don't have what it takes to suffer like this. The answer for "peer pressure" is the grace of God in the heart. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to walk as Jesus walked. The suffering here is not just physical pain, but mental pain (being made fun of). Can you bear it like Christ did? We need the love of God so strong in us, that we can stick with Christ regardless of what comes. There was a visible change in Peter. He wasn't able to suffer this way when Christ went to the cross. After Pentecost, there was a holy boldness in Peter. Peter discovered it wasn't a literal fight. God's love in him began to help him bear it. The disciples faced persecution and death. Peter was talking about how that would come to make you feel bad for loving Christ with all your heart. It takes the very grace of God to take that which would attack your mind, and your love for God, and still hang on to your love for God. It takes the strength of God to stand for God in the face of all that.
1 Peter 3:14-18
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
If you should happen to suffer for the sake of doing right, just suffer. People were ridiculed for preaching holiness. Sinful man tries to terrorize who he can. It takes the Spirit of God to stand in the face of terror, and not be afraid. Be ready always to give an answer. Don't be afraid to speak the truth. Paul wasn't afraid to speak, even though he'd been beaten because of it. It takes the grace of God to suffer this way. It's better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Christ suffered unjustly. He wasn't guilty of blasphemy. He was guilty of telling the truth. Christ suffered, the just for the unjust. This shows whether or not you've ceased from sin. A source of church problems are those that feel they are suffering unjustly and are not taking it well. It's not just suffering, but how you suffer it. Do you suffer like Christ? Can we forgive misunderstandings? Can we take it like Christ when others don't understand what we're trying to do? Our ability to face what comes against us, intended or not, will speak worlds about the working of the Spirit within. When the ones at Pentecost received help from Christ, they were able to suffer like Christ did. Seek what it takes to get the message out. It takes the Spirit of God to be a doormat. Suffering loss in a godly manner proves there is something different about the message of Christ. It takes the grace of God to suffer in the flesh and still hold on to God. Be prepared to suffer injustice and be able to take it. How do you take the hurt that comes your way? Holiness is shown when you can gracefully suffer for the cause of Christ. Can you be different for conscience towards God? Are you willing to leave off whatever it takes to please God? Are you overriding your conscience to go with the crowd? If so, there's more help needed. Sometimes we will be laughed at, but we need to be ready to suffer for Christ. People will suffer things for glory, but can we suffer shame? It takes the power of God to be the outcast. These in their suffering conquered the world. It took something to be an outcast. It took the grace of God.
1 Peter 4:12-19
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.
Trials will come. Judgment must begin with us. God needs to put us to the test. The world will come against you. If you can suffer as God would have you to, he will be glorified. If we can barely hold on, where will the sinners find help? We needn't think that God's work will prosper or go forward if we aren't able to stand. Be determined to "take Jesus and be happy with him." The reason the world is going as it is, is because people won't suffer for Christ. Those that claim to be God's people can't be leaders in this world because they aren't willing to suffer for Christ. We need to follow Christ's example. He showed us what it is like to really suffer. Can we suffer with the Savior? This is what makes us the body of Christ.