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[RECAP]  We pursue the interests of man rather than the interests of God in the Name of Jesus.  The mix of believing Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of the living God and the mix of seeking to get what we want out of it.  And what we want is a crown.

You know Peter had a basis for his expectation.  He had prophecy.  He had Daniel 7.  He had the promise of God, he had lived his whole life, taught these promises.  It was legitimate for him to expect the prophecies to come true.  He had history.  He lived in Israel.  He lived in Galilee.  The history of his country and the history of his part of the country was well known to all who lived there.  It was that period of time between Malachi and Matthew when the Greeks came in and subjugated Israel and then Greek culture and all of its nudity and ugliness began to take over Israel.  And the Maccabees, a family, not the family name but the nickname - “the hammer” - came along and fought the Greek army.  And the Pharisees came into being and in their origin they were terrific, they were really great, they went against Greek culture.  They called the nation back to the true God and to the Bible.  And those two, the Maccabees and the Pharisees, overthrew Greece.  The Maccabees drove the Greek army out of Israel, the Pharisees drove the Greek culture out of Israel and between them, they reclaimed Israel for God.

That history was vivid in everyone who lived in Israel.  And then, of course, there was the reality of John the Baptist.  It was John the Baptist who said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Jn. 1:29)  He identified Him in that way as the Messiah and that’s when Peter and Andrew turned from John the Baptist and followed Jesus.  And all of this added up to identity for Peter.  His identity was one of following the Messiah who was going to give Israel a place of priority in all the world and he was going to get a crown. 

Now, you might think that when Peter rebuked Jesus it was out of concern for his precious, precious Friend.  And that may well have been there.  But the strength of his rebuke and the strength of our Lord’s response and to call him Satan says this is far more than just concern for Jesus.  This is a concern, it’s almost like a temptation, it’s almost like he’s drawing Jesus the same way Satan did.  And that’s why Jesus was so strong.  Because it wasn’t because Peter wanted to protect Jesus…he certainly had that love for Him.  But it was even more.  He wanted the interests of man.   That’s why the Lord defined it that way.

And my friend, if you are in business because you want to get rich, if you are in business because you want to have power, if you are in business because you want to establish control, if you are in business because you want to be successful, and you say, ‘I want to do that in the Name of Jesus!’  That’s the interests of man.  Of course you don’t want to be a failure, I understand that.  And of course you need power.  And of course you need dimensions of control.  But it’s not your power, it’s not your control, and it’s not your success.  That’s the interests of man. 

And if you’re in ministry and you’ve got a position.  It’s a position of leadership.  You see around you people coming who are younger, maybe, or better qualified and you don’t want to give it up…don’t say you’re doing that in the Name of Jesus, because you’re not.

And if you happen to be someone who strives for leadership and really wants to be in leadership and is trying to get into leadership and you’re bothered because you feel that the leader you must follow is incompetent…and you’re working and you’re planning and you’re scheming…don’t say you’re doing that in the Name of Jesus, because you’re not. 

Peter was looking out for the interests that he thought belonged to him.  They knew the Old Testament.  They were all focused on the coming of Messiah and they wanted to see Him overthrow Rome.  They were not prepared to have Rome overthrow Him.  You see, when Jesus brought up the cross, they said ‘No!’ The interesting thing is that in some ways, Peter was absolutely right while he was totally wrong.  He was right in terms of the ultimate expectations of Messiah.  He will establish a kingdom.  He will rule.  But he was wrong in his immediate expectations.  His timing was off.  He was 2,000 years at least off on God’s clock.  But he fought Jesus because he didn’t want the cross, he wanted the crown. 

You see, Reality #4 means that left to ourselves we will pursue our will in the Name of Jesus because we seek the interests of man rather than the interests of God.  And so we ask ourselves, ‘What is God forming in us?

 

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