20 April 2011

Brief Homily on Matthew 26:57-27:26

- delivered this a.m. at the International Center -

2Cor. 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

Peter and Judas.  In the end of your life you will be one of these two men.  You will be either Peter or Judas.  You will look back on your life and in that hour you will see with clarity your sin, your failure, how your choices have brought hurt and pain and grief to people you were supposed to love.  You will see your life as a whole.  And in that moment you will grieve like you’ve never grieved before.  But will it be Peter’s grief or Judas’?

Make no mistake about this:  the Lord Jesus loved them both.  But Judas couldn’t believe that at the end – couldn’t believe that the forgiveness of Jesus could possibly be big enough to hold for him and forgive him for such a sin and so he despaired and died.  Peter, Peter we are told “remembered the saying of Jesus.”  And I think that’s the key.  In his pride and foolishness he had argued with the Lord when the Lord told him what would happen that night.  Surely by then he should have learned that what the Lord Jesus says is always and simply the truth.

But if he remembered that saying of Jesus, he no doubt remembered the others too:  “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for the many.”

Peter and Judas both wept.   They both saw the unspeakable hurt they had brought on Jesus.  At the end of your life, you will see it too.  But Peter was able to look it square in the face as:  He is doing this for me, for my denials, for my totally inadequate and failing love.  He bears for me what I cannot bear; He endures for me what I cannot endure.  Even for me.  Judas didn’t believe that, and so all he saw was the suffering and death, not the atonement, not the love of God pouring out Himself for every child of the lost race of man.

In the end you will be one or the other.  Remember the sayings of Jesus, the words of Jesus and you will weep tears of sorrow with Peter and like Peter your story will be the final joy of seeing the risen One, marveling at the scars, and knowing that this is He whose blood has blotted out your every sin.

We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You for by the wood of Your cross joy has come into all the world.  Amen.

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