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Message

Are You Ready? - Part 2, The Prepared and Unprepared Heart
Mingo Palacios - August 16, 2015

Message Recap

We all have fears and difficulty preparing for trials. Pastor Mingo shared that though he wants to be someone who is extremely prepared, always defaulting to trusting in the character of Jesus regardless of the situation - he admitted he is just a regular guy and often falls short.

Today we read through Mark 14, a picture that contrasts the attitudes and actions of a spiritually prepared person, Jesus, with a spiritually unprepared person (Peter). Jesus wants Peter—and us—to pick up on the example He sets for how a spiritually prepared person acts, looks, and reacts to chaos.

We began by reading some of the amazing, world-changing things that happened in Acts 2, with the apostle Peter at the helm. At this point in Scripture, Peter has become a bold, unwavering, and passionate leader. But things weren’t always this way; in Mark 14, we read about one of the darkest moments in Peter’s walk with Christ.

Then Jesus said to [his disciples], “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered.’”
v. 27

The disciples have already seen Jesus do amazing miracles, but here Jesus says that things are about to get chaotic—more than any of them can bear.

“But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” Peter said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”
Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”
But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” 
And they all said likewise. 
v. 28-31

Jesus knows that our hearts want to stand for Him and be faithful, but He also knows that we are weak and will not always be able to do as our hearts incline. So He promises to go before us. He makes a plan with His disciples to meet them in the place where their relationship began. When He knows we will unavoidably fail, He has already prepared the reconciliation plan.

What might it feel like if those you loved the most would betray you, turn on you, let you down, or hurt you in an unexpected season?  Jesus is showing that He has premeditated what His response will be to this hurt. In His moments of solitude, He has prepared.

When we have irritations with others, if we decide in the moment how to react, we fail. We may lash out in anger or say things we don’t mean. But if we have predetermined how we will react, we will be ready.

When we have irritations with others, if we decide in the moment how to react, we fail. We may lash out in anger or say things we don’t mean. But if we have predetermined how we will react, we will be ready.

Jesus takes His disciples to Gethsemane so that they may observe His preparing for His trial. Though they don’t realize what is about to happen, He wants them to remember afterward that He took time to spiritually prepare ahead of time.

Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”
v. 32-34

This is a rare picture of our Savior in his humanity, terrified and depressed to the deepest parts about the battle He faces in the flesh. He is facing an exit from the perfect union and love with His Father. Though God has never tolerated sin, He now commits to becoming sin Himself and denying His own essence in order to reconcile us to God. He instructs the disciples to be alert of what is happening in this place right now. They must hear Him weeping bitterly as the compression of the coming separation from the Father settles in on Him.

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” v. 35-36

We witness here the battle between the spirit and the flesh. Jesus desires for His spirit to be filled to endure the reality of the physical chaos that is coming.

Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” v. 37-38

Jesus tells Peter to pray—not for Jesus, but for himself—that he does not fall into temptation. What’s the temptation?  He’s referencing Peter’s promise not to desert Jesus. He describes it like a zone of temptation. The spirit doesn’t want to be tempted, but the flesh wanders there on its own.

We need to be spiritually prepared to resist places, people, and things of temptation. Pay attention to the people who walk you toward the worst version of yourself and then call you a friend. Unprepared and unaware, you may not know you’re in dangerous waters until your toes are wet, but if you spend time preparing in the spirit, you’ll be ready to resist.

Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. v. 39-40

Do you know this feeling? Maybe you desire to be a better spouse, friend, employee, but when it comes time to do the preparation for any of those things, you’d rather not. It’s easier to just watch a few more TV shows or relax with some friends. Our spirits are inclined to invest, yet we fail to prepare and so our spirits stay the same.

Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” v. 41-42

By Jesus’ words, “It is enough,” He tells the disciples that the window for spiritual preparation has closed, though they have not prepared. Now it’s time for battle and the hurricane is starting.

And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” v. 43-49

Spiritually unprepared people will use God’s will as a cover-up for their lack of self-control. In Luke’s account of this event, the disciples first ask Jesus if they should strike with the sword, but without even waiting for a response from Jesus, Peter strikes and cuts the ear of a guard. So many times when we do not wait for an answer from the Lord, what results is violence. But Jesus does not condone this violence—He diffuses it.

And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. v. 53-54

This is the temptation of which Jesus warned Peter. Peter wants to be considered “present” with Jesus in following Him, but he desires anonymity and neutrality. Do you find yourself praising Jesus on Sunday and then hiding Him behind your back during the work week?

Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” But not even then did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But He kept silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. 
v. 55-65

When falsely accused, the spiritually prepared Jesus remains silent and does not have to defend Himself. (Think about the last time you blew up in self-defense!)  When you are prepared and refuse to blurt out a response against false accusations, God has the opportunity to be your defender. Then when a genuine question is presented, Jesus is ready with His answer. Because He has spiritually prepared in advance, He has wisdom to remain calm, have self-control, and discern the real questions.

Jesus’ death sentence comes from His own understanding of His identity and willingness to stand firm for it.

Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” But he denied it again.
And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!”
A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept. 
v. 66-72

Peter is in the opposite situation from Jesus. He is prodded by a servant girl of the high priest, who is possibly the lowest level of threat. And yet he is spiritually unprepared, now challenged under pressure, so he fails to stand for who he really is.

Peter weeps because he has failed his friend Jesus. In this moment, clouded by his own failure, he doesn’t remember the complete picture of Jesus or the promise Jesus gave before the storm came: “All of you will be made to stumble…But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee…” Jesus willingly meets us despite our failures.

In Mark 16:7, Jesus is risen and the women are greeted by an angel at the empty tomb:

But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

Jesus knows the inclination of our hearts and He is there waiting for us, even when we fail.

Jesus understands what Peter is going through and wants Peter specifically to be reminded about His promise to meet him and not to abandon him in his failure. This is true for all of us; Jesus knows the inclination of our hearts and He is there waiting for us, even when we fail.

Pastor Mingo concluded his message by encouraging us to have hope in Christ to get us through our chaos and to repent and spend time preparing for the battles that are coming our way on earth.

1. Jesus does what when things get intense?

2. Peter does what when things go sideways?

3. How are we prepared when things get intense or go sideways?

Are You Ready?

This 4-part message series prepares us for times of disaster, empowering us to face adversity with the capacity to help others. In Part 2, Pastor Mingo explores Jesus’ preparation for the cross and encourages us to be spiritually prepared for difficult times that may lay ahead.

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