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For Pete’s Sake!

August 31, 2014

get-behind-me1

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Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost                             Trinity Lutheran Church

31 August 2014                                                           Murdock, NE

 

+ Jesu Juva +

 

Matthew 16:21-23

 

Did you hear what Jesus called Peter? Whoa! There’s name calling and then there’s NAME CALLING! Some one should really call the authorities or the SWAT Team don’t you think? I mean – the venom! The vitriol! The intolerance! Jesus unloads a devastating word that borders on “hate” speech and should get Him sent to sensitivity training at least or most likely thrown into Leavenworth or San Quentin PDQ – no questions asked!

 

After all, in our tolerant society preachers are intolerantly forbidden to talk like that, right?

 

But Jesus does! He dares to do it. Without any hesitation. For Pete’s sake! For Pete’s being repented and then faith-ed. For the Lord, remarkably, having good use of a repented and faith-ed Peter. You too for that matter. So, Jesus really lets Peter have it. He gets in Peter’s grill, looks him straight in the eyes and categorically and audaciously declares: “Get behind me Satan!”

 

He called Peter, “Satan”! Really? Yes, that’s right! As far as Jesus is concerned Peter has become Satan’s instrument, Satan’s mouth!

 

How could that be? Why would Jesus be so harsh?

 

Pretty simple really. Peter won’t be having a crucified Christ. Peter preaches what he thinks is a far better sermon than Jesus. Peter piously and infallibly pontificates that he has better words than the Lord Jesus Christ. Just like you! You’re no different than Peter. Peter is no different than you. Lord Jesus Christ has just been “explaining to his disciples [and you] that he must” – did you hear that? – “must” do a Good Friday Jerusalem – suffer – get crucified – and then rise from the dead on the third day.

 

Will you put up with a Jesus Christ like that? Seriously. Will you? Peter won’t! He’ll have none of a Jesus like that! Would you try to prevent Jesus from doing a Jerusalem? Hinder Him from hanging graveyard dead on the cross bearing the sin of the world? Peter does. He would stop Jesus “dead” in His tracks!

 

It’s not that Peter’s angry or belligerent. He loves Jesus. He cares for Him. He’s a disciple. Just like you. So with all the piety and religiosity that he can muster, the apostle refuses to live by Jesus’ words. Peter won’t be having a Jesus that gets crucified just as Jesus preached!

 

So, Rock Man Peter politely and gently takes Jesus aside to have a talk. A heart to heart. He has something very important to say. He lovingly and tenderly declares: “Jesus, Master, I only want what’s best for you. So I have to step up to the plate. Listen. I give my “NEVER!” to what you just said. Suffering? Crucified? This will NEVER happen to you! I can’t and I won’t let you do this to yourself. It’s like you’re on some kind of suicide mission. Like you have a morbid death wish! You really need to get over all this talk about your being hung on a cross. It’s become dangerously manic!”

 

“You obviously have some sort of disorder. A psychotic suffering and dying dementia. I don’t think it’s genetic. So, my secretary has made an appointment for you to see Dr. Freud. In addition, I have a very good friend in pharmaceuticals. He sells a unique and rare fish oil from the Sea of Galilee that does wonders in restoring brain health and thinking straight. It’s the latest infomercial rage. Don’t misunderstand me Jesus, I’m usually not one to brag but it really is a good thing that I’m here to look out for you.”

 

“Now be a good Jesus. Let’s have no more of this suffering and dying talk. Will you promise? Dr. Freud will see you this afternoon. Take this fish oil pill with some water three times a day for the next three years. And you’ll have your best life now! I promise!”

 

And you’re shaking your heads up and down. Congratulating Peter: “Here, here Peter! Well done! Preach it brother! Save Jesus from the cross! Deliver Him from death! Don’t you dare let Him contaminate Himself with the world’s toxic and noxious sin! He’s clearly out of His mind at the moment. Good for you Peter! We’re so proud of you! Caring for Jesus like that! We’re with you Peter! Never Lord! This simply cannot happen to you!”

 

And so Jesus must say it again. But this time to you: “Get behind me Satan!”

 

“He didn’t!” Yes, He did. Had to expose you too. You too have pulled a Peter! You too, like Peter, genteelly and devoutly insist on having a Jesus the Christ without a Holy Week suffering, a Good Friday crucified dying and an Easter Morning resurrection. Therefore, you, just like Peter, have become Satan’s mouth! Peter’s talk – your talk — about the Christ is now Satan talk. Antichrist!

 

What’s that? You’ve had enough? You’re calling the police? Texting the church authorities? You’re getting ready to walk out?

 

Put your phones down. Shut them off.

 

Sit back down and listen. I beg you.

 

It’s time to hear. To let the Lord Jesus Christ have His say so. To have the first and last word. It’s time to repent of idolatrously believing that your words are more divine and more important than the words of Jesus. It’s time to quit, once and for all, putting your words ahead of or above Jesus’ words. To stop being a “stumbling block” to Jesus with all your pious, well-meaning but Satanic words in order to permanently knock Him off the road to Jerusalem and prevent Him from doing His Friday that’s appropriately called “Good”. It’s time to have in mind “the things of God,” not the “things of men.”

 

Your salvation is at stake here. This is no game. Your eternal life depends on Jesus getting wrapped up with all your sin and the world’s sin in His divine body and answering for it all in, with and under His Good Friday dying! If you and Peter had your way – Satan’s way – then all your sin would remain on you and you’d have to be damned in and with it!

 

But I tell you that Jesus did what He said. He suffered, died and rose! For your sake. For your salvation. For Pete’s sake too! Your sin belongs to Jesus. All of it. Every big or little bit of it. It doesn’t belong to you anymore. No sin is too big for Jesus. Don’t purposely withold any of your sin outside of His forgiveness. Don’t say, “Oh, Jesus can’t forgive me. What I did was so bad. It’s unforgiveable.”

 

Of course, your sin is bad. It’s evil. It’s hellacious. It’s damnacious. And that’s why Jesus did a Good Friday. That’s what it takes to save His sinners – and you qualify. You are forgiven. Salvation is yours. All because Jesus is the crucified and risen Christ! There is no other! He’s Christ crucified and risen FOR YOU!

 

He preaches that truth today at the Lord’s Supper: “given and shed FOR YOU for the forgiveness of sins.” His words. His promise. The best words you could ever hear! Christ’s words. They contain and bestow the gospel on which every Christian lives.

 

In the Name of Jesus.

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