Sermon Follow Up - Week 34, 2021
Following Jesus as his disciple is sometimes confusing. Disheartening. Isolating. Difficult. You feel it don’t you? As a man, a woman, a mom, a dad, a college student, a teen, a kid. Whether you struggle with a health concern or a family concern or a marital concern or a cultural concern…No matter who you are, if you are a follower of Jesus the path of discipleship is sometimes rather confusing and difficult. And sometimes we simply lose hope. But all along the way of the disciples’ meandering, their pride and failures and their stubbornness, we’ve seen Jesus stay with them, teach them, lead them, promise them, protect them, prepare them, provide for them, and on this last day of his pre-resurrection life, he will serve them by giving his own life for them. And he does the same for you today. Amid all of our meandering, amid all of our pride and failures and stubbornness Jesus is ever faithful. He provides, he protects, he keeps, he guards, he fills, he loves, he intercedes.
“But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this. A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”” (Luke 22:21–38 ESV)
Look to the faithful provisions of Jesus to find hope amid the sometimes confusing path of discipleship.
SUBPOINTS AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. There is Hope Despite Betrayal (vv. 21-23)
Even in the actual betrayal of the Son of God – an act in the real history of mankind, the confusing, shocking, ruthless, brutal, sinful and satanic opposition to God – stands the eternal, faithful, steadfast purposes and plan of God to save you.
The disciples were certainly confused on this night, even though they had heard it time and time again from Jesus that the events of this night, including the betrayal, were going to happen. But you know, a day was coming when they would look back at all that Jesus had said, all that took place, all that was accomplished – a day when they would take the Lord’s Supper together as the early church remembering what he had said on that night and the betrayal of Jesus was no longer a frightening thing, but one more evidence that Jesus is the faithful One who provides salvation and hope and life for all who hope in him.
And while the path of discipleship would continue to wind along difficult and sometimes confusing paths, the faithfulness and sovereignty of Jesus that they had come to finally believe would provide hope for them as they endured other hardships.
- How does your path of discipleship feel confusing, or especially difficult, right now?
- How might meditating on the faithful and absolute sovereignty of King Jesus in YOUR life give you hope?
Our path may be confusing, but the Lord of the path is steadfast, and faithful, and immutable, and omniscient, and loving, and caring, and He is with you on the path as one who fully empathizes with you and calls you to trust him and rest in his unshakable plan to keep you and present you blameless on that final day.
2. There is Hope Despite Pride (vv. 24-30)
Amid the proud disputing of his disciples, getting all up in each other’s face about who is the greatest among them, stands the humble, faithful one ready to serve, happy to serve, happy to teach and to train and to shepherd, to pay the penalty for their pride, and to promise them that the Kingdom is theirs as they imperfectly persevere in their faith and trust of Jesus.
This is our Jesus.
And friends, this is just a hint of good news for us, you know? Amid our proud ramblings and actions stands our faithful Savior having served us perfectly in his life and death, now resurrected and ascended, teaching us, guiding us, patiently working with us and being our Good Shepherd and telling us things like:
““Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32 ESV)
Brothers and sisters, followers of Jesus, Jesus doesn’t grow weary of our tendency to think of ourselves, he doesn’t grow tired of our foolish posturing. Rather, he gives us an example to follow in serving one another as we continue to persevere with sure hope that on that final day we will also be ushered into the consummated kingdom to eat and drink at the table of our Faithful King. Jesus would have you and I know, that in Him there is hope amid the pride of a disciple.
- Do you ever feel that Jesus is growing weary of you? Your failings? Your tendency to pride?
- How is Jesus' promise of the kingdom to come for those who persevere in their faith meant to be an encouragement to you amid your failings?
3. There is Hope Despite Blindness
Peter was blind to his coming failure. Deaf to the voice of Jesus warning him. Whatever Jesus was talking about, Peter just knew he would be okay. He wouldn’t cave. He would go with Jesus to the end. And, he eventually would, but not on this night. On this night he’ll deny Jesus just as Jesus foretold. And yet, even prior to Peter’s repentance and prior to his reinstatement as they walked along the sand together, here is Jesus not only stating that he is interceding for him, but speaking in such a way as to communicate certainty that Peter will indeed repent, will turn, and will strengthen the brothers. Peter couldn’t see it, but Jesus, with omniscient certainty, does.
Do you understand that that's the difference between Peter and Judas? In the end, both of them were tempted in points of weakness in their personal experience and one believed and one never repented, but underneath the non-repentance of Judas and the repentance and the faith of Peter is the prayer of Jesus. We don't understand how at all times we stand in need of the intercession of our Savior. You see, it's not just that He died for us, it's not just that He was raised for us — He ever lives to intercede. He is whispering into the Father's ear, “Keep her from sin. Keep him from breaking, Lord. Keep their faith from failing, Lord. Bring them to repentance, Lord.” He is ever living to intercede and the one thing that stands between us and an ancient personal evil of incalculable power, the enemy of our souls, and our souls, is Jesus’ intercession. But His intercession is more powerful than that ancient evil… Jesus’ prayers are invincible for His people. There is no power in the universe that can equal Jesus’ prayer for His people. (Ligon Duncan)
Many times we feel as though our prayers just aren't working. Sometimes we feel hindered in our prayers and discouraged in our prayers. But Jesus’ prayers are always effective, always powerful, and always entirely invincible. And no matter the Satanic opposition, when He calls down a multitude of angels around His people, and when He calls down the help of God upon His people, nothing in this universe can touch them.
Friends, the hope we have amid our sometimes blind, faithless, self-sufficient meanderings is that even still King Jesus knows us, and intercedes for us, and will present us blameless before God on that final day with great joy. There is hope amid the blindness of a disciple.
- Do you ever feel that your prayers are just "hitting the ceiling?" Ever feel that your prayers seem ineffective? How so? What was the most recent example?
- How does knowing the reality of Jesus effectively and powerfully interceding for you amid the path of discipleship you're on give you encouragement regarding the difficulties and joys you are facing?
4. There is Hope Despite Stubborness (vv. 35-38)
In these verses, I think Jesus is just primarily caring for and thinking about His stubborn, stumbling disciples and He's striving to provide for them, and prepare them for the trial that they’re going to face in just a few short hours. Jesus didn’t grow weary with their stubbornness. He didn’t grow tired of them. He continued to help them, lead them, guide them, teach them, and walk alongside of them. There is hope amid the stubbornness of a disciple. Whether on that day, or this day.
The church has always been filled with stubborn disciples. Perhaps it’s the stubbornness of a poor attitude, or an opinion that holds sway over everything else, or a propensity to being close-minded as it pertains to non-essentials. These are not things that are primary doctrinal areas or ultimate truth claims, they are often side issues that become primary issues in one’s life. But the good news is that there is hope amid that stubbornness. Jesus continues to teach, continues to care, continues to lead, continues to adjust, and continues to prepare you and I for the difficulties and the joys that lay ahead on the road of discipleship.
- Where do you see stubborness in your life as a disciple?
- What does the phrase "he was numbered with the transgressors" have to do with you and your stubborness?
- Jesus is not weary of you.
We get weary with ourselves, but Jesus is ever patient, ever faithful. Dwell on that reality this week.
- Jesus continues to teach, encourage, and move you forward amid our weaknesses and sin struggles.
Such good news. We see it regularly with the disciples. And throughout church history we continue to see it. It's true of you, too. How encouraging that is! How is he teaching you today? What might that look like this week?
- Remember that Jesus is always interceding for you.
Seriously. NOTHING better than knowing the King of kings has YOU on his mind and is interceding for you. Live this week, knowing that amid all of your successes and all of your failings, Jesus continues to pray for you to not fall prey to the enemy. And his intercessions for you are part of why he can say that "he who began a good work in you will...WILL...complete it at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6).
- John 13:1-17:26
- Romans 8:18-39
Songs to Encourage