Have You Truly Experienced the Cross?

Reduced from Rock to Rubble, Michael Eldridge

Sunday morning, March 12, 2006

Mark 14:26-72


No experience of the Cross of Christ is complete without a deep look at how one disciple, in particular, made his way to it.  Across the span of twenty centuries the Apostle Peter has had his successes and failures analyzed and criticized by the body of Christ.  You'll remember that in the Gospels we meet him not initially as Peter but as Simon, the brother of a man named Andrew.  Both were fishermen invited by Jesys to follow after Himself.  From that moment forward Peter journeyed with Jesus -- a journey that still stands as testimony to how Christ radically changes the heart of one that finally surrenders to Him.

The New Testament shows that over time Jesus transformed Peter into a rock, but we remember him, for the most part, for the night he was reduced from rock to rubble.  We remember Peter for the night Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and tried; we remember him for the moment he denied even knowing Jesus.

Peter, of course, wholeheartedly rejected the idea that he could commit such a sin.  We find here in Mark 14:29 that he confidently insisted, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not."  All these others in the group may desert You, Master, but I absolutely won't!  The world can come to an end before I'll deny You.  Why, I would die with You before I would do such a thing!  I can imagine it was with a deep sigh of regret that Jesus offered His stinging response, Ah, Peter, but you will.  "Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny me three times" (14:30).

Our Lord had tried repeatedly to caution him about being misguided.  Once, after Peter privately rebuked Jesus for foretelling of His suffering, Jesus said to him, "Get behind Me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's" (Matthew 16:23).  On this very night in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus counseled Peter, "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (14:38).  And then there was Jesus' most graphic word of warning to Peter, recorded by Luke: "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat" (Luke 22:31).

There's very little Satan enjoys more than being able to sift us who belong to Jesus -- to use the circumstances God unfolds in such a way to shake or agitate us into a measure of separation from our Savior.  Satan lives to oppose us in this way.  He finds here his only hope for even marginal victory, seeking to reduce to rubble what Christ has transformed into rock.  To him it must be like watching the demolition of a building blown to bits from the inside-out.  I did it, he must preen.  I helped another one fall.  Here in Mark's Gospel we see how Peter, without realing the peril of his position, fell prey to Satan's schemes and his own overinflated opinion of himself.  Before he knew it, he was doing exactly what he told Jesus he could never do.

Our objective, dear brethren, in this message today is to learn from Peter's experience of the Cross, that when Satan might seek to reduce us to rubble we would be prepared.  In our brief look at Mark 14 we're going to use Peter's experience to highlight some warning signs that can indicate when we might be in the same peril he was.  How can you tell when you're in danger of being sifted?  Let me give you five questions to consider, to use in examining yourself.


The remainder of this message will be added on Monday, March 13.  If you would like an audio recording of this or any other of Bro. Michael's messages, please call our Church Office (256-383-1515) or e-mail Bro. Michael.

comment posted by Makicilene on 10-06-2012
The thing that makes this holiday so wordenful is the warmth of good spirits. The problem is that we should all be this way, all the time. Why wait for christmas to spread good cheer, in a world that is so close to destroying itself. Instead of tripping over each other to look like the better man, why don't we treat each other as the better man? The christmas season has been entrenched with myth and legend and pagan practices to numerous of which to mention. One could, and probably have written a book on it. The christmas tree story itself is a ritual. St. Nick was a real man whose generosity and magnanimity won him a spot as Santa; but I think that if he were alive he would be appalled at what this world has done with him. I don't think Jesus hates this holiday, but it defeats the purpose to which he has called us. We need to be willing to have this christmas spirit all year long. Gods will on earth is what we should be concerned with, not a mad rush for gifts and celebration.
comment posted by RaitaUplilk on 06-13-2011
— А ведь, собственно говоря, стыдно ходить по земле и почти ничего не знать о ней. Даже нескольких названий цветов.— Не расстраивайся — гораздо более позорно, что мы вообще не знаем, зачем околачиваемся на земле. И тут несколько лишних названий ничего не изменят.
comment posted by Chris Fisher on 03-17-2010
Hello, My name is Chris Fisher and I am an ordained member of clergy and a Christian("A CHILD OF GOD") I am starting a new ministry by traveling from place to place and sharing the story of my life through Jesus Christ and all the trials and tribulations that the Bible said that we would have in our lives here on earth: King James Version of the Holy Bible Hebrews 11:35-37 35Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, and were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 2 Chronicles 12:7 And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. I have made a covenant with God, through his calling, in my life to do his work and his work only by spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through my own personal experience in life and sharing my testimony with others on my personal tragedies, in my family. (death and rejection) of my family, financial (bankruptcy) and marriage (divorce), and children (salvation) and the triumph over all. (Jesus Christ) Please feel free to email or send any prayer request, or inquiries about having me come and speak to your church or organization contact information below: 2 Corinthians 1:2 Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen, William C Fisher Sr O.M. PO BOX 2022 Muscle Shoals Alabama 35662 Email me at: thespiritoftruthministry316@gmail.com I place this Advertisement in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior! Will you pray for me?