Sunday Morning | February 4, 2024 | John C. Majors | Louisville, KY
In his sermon titled "Dealing with the Diss" on February 4, 2024, Pastor John explored John 18:15-27 to address the various reactions individuals have to disappointment. Drawing from the passage, he outlined five common responses: distancing oneself, denying the truth, defending personal beliefs, displaying disdain, and sinking into dejection. He then presented four actionable steps to confront disappointment: avoiding isolation, remaining close to Jesus, discerning between denial and betrayal, and steadfastly upholding truth as guided by Proverbs 26:4-5. Through this message, Pastor John encouraged his congregation to navigate disappointment with resilience, faith, and a commitment to truth.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Well, good morning, Valley View. Morning. I think that song, it just reminds me of a few conversations I've had this morning and a phrase has been repeated back to me already that we say a lot has come as you are, so you don't have to stay as you are. Right. And that song just sums it up. It's not about you getting it all together, getting your self figured out so that you can come to God. A friend of mine used to say, You don't have to get cleaned up to take a shower. No, come as you are with all the mess, with all the dirtiness, with all the mistakes. That’s what the cross is for. And I love just starting with that position of worship. We don't come because we have it all figured out. I'm not up here because I'm perfect and have it all figured out. Man, just come as you are. We need to get in God's Word together and let him direct us and change our lives. So thank you for being here today with that posture. We have taken a break from the Book of John. We were in the Book of John for a long time. We'd taken about six weeks off. We went through a Habit series to start the New Year. We had Christmas, we had New Year's, and now we're getting back into the book of John. That'll take us through just after Easter and will be in John 18 today, by the way, today is also a very special day in the history of Valley View. 44 years Eddie Lee Brooks has served as our children's minister. And today, today she signs on for another 44 years. No, no, No, today we will have her official-- and she allowed me to use this word-- retirement party this evening. Retirement. Then we're going to move into rehirement. We're going to bring her back part time to help with our senior adults. But it's a big day. You want to come this evening. We're going to acknowledge her at the end of the service as well, because I know maybe not everyone can make it this evening. So make sure you stick around for that at the end of the service. Big day for our church, big day for Valley View, big day for families all across this part of town. For years and decades even. She's influenced a lot, including myself. So it's a meaningful day for me as well. All right, John, Chapter 18. And here I think we're going to see something in this passage that relates to an experience I had. One Christmas, we were gathered with family and one of the kids was opening a box and it was a large box and they peel back the paper and it was just this big white with very thick, sturdy cardboard box. And right in the middle was the Silver Apple logo. And so Julie and I look at one another and we thought, Who is this from? Where is this coming from? How do we not know about this? This is a big gift. Usually you get a heads up on that. Probably is a young child probably going to involve some technology questions that we're not sure we're ready for. And so we look at the person we think it's from no hint on their face, no expression, no excitement or smile, like, yeah, I really did this, nothing. And of course the child is confused, wondering what could this be? This wasn't on my list. I would have put it on there if I knew you were going this big. But confusion all around keeps opening and keeps opening. Lifts the lid and inside the box. Now it was used, but in good condition. And inside that box was a winter coat. And one word summed up the reaction of that child in that moment. It was disappointment, right? It's not what you expected, of course. How many have done this? I found an old box to put presents in, keep boxes around for when it's time to pack stuff. Person didn't really think about what it might mean or imply or communicate. Disappointment might have even been some tears shed in that moment. Disappointment. Disappointment comes in life. We're all going to face disappointment. It doesn't always come in the form of a a sweater or an article of clothing or a jacket. Sometimes it comes in the form, maybe a loss at school, a challenging relationship. Maybe a family member let you down, maybe a sports team let you down, maybe a relationship fell apart. Maybe you feel like God has let you down, disappointed you at times. One thing is for sure, though, in life you're going to face disappointment. How do we handle disappointment? I think in today's passage we're going to see a few different people in the ways they encounter disappointment. In fact, there's five ways we're going to look at today. Five different encounters with disappointment and how people reacted to them. And so turn to John, Chapter 18. If you have a church Bible that will be on page 850, if you don't have a Bible, we'd love to put a copy of the Bible in your hands. We have those out in the connection corner, slip out at any time and grab one The page numbers on the screen tie in to that specific Bible. We're going to start by reading just the first few verses here of 18 and verses 15 through 17. Get our bearings for the story today, John. 18 verses 15 through 17. Simon Peter followed Jesus. So did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priests, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high Priest. But Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, brought Peter in. All right. It's been a few weeks since we've been in John. So let me remind you of the context. We spent many months in chapters 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, going through the upper room discourse where Jesus was just meeting alone with his disciples, teaching them re-emphasizing things, washing their feet, teaching about service, likely having a Passover meal together. He does the high priestly prayer in Chapter 17. Then all of that ends and they walk out. They go to the garden and Jesus is betrayed. Judas shows up with soldiers, turns Jesus over to them, and this follows right on the heels of that Jesus was betrayed. He's taken away by soldiers. And I think what we see here in this first interaction, this first disappointment, because Peter and the disciples all in that moment were very disappointed. They had a picture in their mind of who Jesus was and what he would do. They thought he would take over, get rid of the Roman rule. More than likely, they thought he would set up his kingdom as the new David, the new king, and instead he's hauled off by a few soldiers and Judas. And he just willingly went along. He didn't stand up for himself, fight back, didn't calm the storm, use that same power against these men. There's disappointment in that moment. And so how does Peter react? And specifically in that moment, it says here, back in verse 15, Simon Peter followed Jesus and so did another disciple. They followed. But the other gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, they use the phrase they followed at a distance. In fact, that's the first reaction to disappointment we see here. Disappointment creates distance. I mean, if you've been disappointed in any relationship, it creates a distance. You back away from that person, whether that's a friend, a loved one, or whether that's Christ. Disappointment creates distance. Peter says, okay, I kind of want to know what's going to happen to Jesus, but I'm not all in like I was. And this this is the guy who said, I will follow you. I will die for you no matter what. But now he's disappointed. That resolve is just it's just gone. Now we notice here as well, there's another disciple with him. He's not alone in this moment. We don't know. Many of the disciples scattered, but at least these two say we're going to find out what happens with Jesus. In fact, it says so did another disciple. Now notice how it describes this disciple. That disciple was known to the high priest. He entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. That disciple was a little more on the inside. Whether he knew the high priest or someone in there. He was more connected than Peter. He had more access, was able to stay closer to Jesus. Peter stood outside the door, so the other disciple known to the high priest went out, spoke to the servant girl, kept watching the door, brought Peter in. Now, who is this disciple here? There's some debate about exactly who that is. I'm just going to say, first of all, we can't know 100% for sure. But I think the clues in the book of John point toward it being John the disciple. John often speaks of himself kind of in this mysterious way, the disciple whom Jesus loved, without naming himself, but clearly pointing to someone very close to Jesus. But when it says another disciple later in chapter 20, he's described that way as well as another disciple. And John, in the book of John, when he mentions people, he usually mentions him by name. He names people, even obscure, people like Malchus, the guy who got his ear cut off. He talks --he names Nicodemus, who goes to Jesus at night. He names Joseph of Arimathea, who comes to get the body. So he often names people, I think, as John. But I think there's something else here going on. And I hinted at this last week where you see a little bit of this rivalry between John and Peter throughout the book of John. You ever have these friends that it's a little bit of healthy rivalry with? And when you start to read it through that lens, you see a little bit of this humor. You know, the other disciple was actually on the inside. He knew the high priest. In fact, twice he mentions, yeah, I knew the high priest. I was close to him. And by the way, he had to come let Peter in on the inside, start to see a little bit of that friendly rivalry. I'm I'm just a little bit better than you are, Peter. Again, who knows exactly, but you've had these kind of friendships. I've got a couple of guys I've known since college. Good friends. We hang out a couple of times a year together. We're on the phone often texting all the time and we'll share stuff with each other. We feel like God's working on our lives. We read a good book, hear a good sermon. I heard of this great sermon from Tim Keller recently on Envy. I never think about envy. There's a lot of sins we encounter that you think about. I hardly ever think about envy. Great sermon. I ordered a couple of the books he mentioned. Cinema screenshot. Look, here's some of the books. Great sermon. You all should check this out. One of the guys texts me back. John, we know it's having hard having friends like us, right? I mean, I'm not envious of them, and I needed that sermon to get through it. You've had friends like that, that rivalry that just that little bit. I'm like, Yeah, it is hard having a friend like you. Okay, you've had that. It's good, it's healthy, it's a good relationship. In fact, we need that kind of people in our life. We just push back a little. You're not perfect, just a little in a healthy way. This is likely John and Peter or John, even in the midst of the distance, even in the midst of the disappointment, they’re still staying near, haven’t abandoned everything completely. But there's distance and they've got to deal with that. Now. What's the second reaction we see here to disappointment? Keep reading. Look at verse 19. 17. Look at verse 17. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you? He said, I am not. Now the servant and officers had made a charcoal fire because it was cold and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. What we see here first we see the servant girl who had let him in immediately recognize him, and she asks him, Are you one of his disciples? And the tone here in the grammar's kind of embedded, this tone of a little bit of hesitation. I'm a little bit just not exactly sure. Yet it also carries a little bit of the tone of a sneer. Could you really be someone who followed him? How dare you? Even just a hint of you would be that low of a person to follow him? I remember having a moment like this with a guy I was in a theology class with, and the teacher was teaching kind of an older view on a topic, maybe more of a legalistic fundamentalist view. And he taught it and he was fair with teaching it. But we leave the class. I go out with my friend, we sit down to eat our sandwiches at lunch, and I say, Can you believe that anyone would hold that position? Can you believe someone would be that backwards and legalistic and fundamentalist to hold that position? And he goes, Well, John, let me explain some reasons why someone might hold that view. And lo and behold, quickly I remembered, holy smokes, he comes from a very legalistic, fundamentalist background, and he was working through a lot of that. But what he did in that moment, he took my sneer, my condescension and he just graciously met me where I was. And he said, Maybe consider some other viewpoints. Have you thought about the other side? And he didn't really agree with that totally either. Just for a moment, he caused me to pause. Be fair, be kind, be honest with other people, not just sneer at him, put him in a box, cast him aside. You get a hint of that here with her. Are you really? Could you be the one with him? And Peter hears the word how he reacts in his disappointment. His response in that moment is denial. No way. I don't even know who he is. In fact, in some of the other gospels, you get you get a reaction like rage. You get him saying things like cursing and swearing in the moment. I swear I have no idea who he is. Now, let's be fair to Peter in the moment. In that moment, Peter probably really felt that way. I mean, you've had this encounter where you thought you knew someone. You thought you knew what they were like. He thought he knew who Jesus was in that moment up until just a few minutes ago. And now you hear this phrase, I don't even know who you are. I'm not even sure who you are anymore. And so part of Peter was just being very honest. I don't even know him. Okay, fair enough, Peter. Fair enough. And look, I'm guessing some of us have been there before. I thought my God was this way. This is the picture I had painted of God. This is what I had been told who God was. And then you see, Whoa! he's let me down. That's not who I thought he was. I don't know that I even know him. And Peter, in this moment responds strongly with denial. It comes on strong. In fact, this whole passage, when you unpack this section, we're looking at verses 15 through 27. The whole point is this contrast between how Jesus handles disappointment, between how Peter handles disappointment and how Jesus handles disappointment. Jesus is sandwiched in between Peter's denials and at the center, you see how he reacts to disappointment versus how Peter reacts. In fact, we're going to see now what Jesus does in this moment, because Jesus I mean, they're all most likely in the same courtyard. This is all going on here within probably sight of one another, probably within sound of one another. What happens with Jesus here? Let's look at this next section of verses, verse 19 through 24. The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him. I've spoken openly to the world. I've always taught in the synagogues and in the temple where all the Jews come together. I've said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them. They know what I said. When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, Is that how you answer the High priest? Jesus answered him. If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong. But if what I said is right, why do you strike me? Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest. in this section, I think we're going to see two responses to disappointment. Two different responses to disappointment. And of course, we know Jesus knows in this moment He knows he has disappointed his disciples. He knows they had different expectations. That's what the whole-- a lot of the upper room discourse was about. It's him trying to clarify. Look, guys, you think you know who I am, Here's who I really am. Be ready. Here's what's coming. You're going to disperse, but then endure over and over again. He knows he let them down. By the way, a good reminder, a good side note related to that is just be aware, you're going to let people down in life. You are. There's going to be people who are disappointed with you because of decisions you've made, even the right ones, even the good ones. And by the way, you will let people down as well. You are going to disappoint people. They're going to disappoint you. It's going to happen. It happened to Jesus. Jesus who was perfect. It it happened to him. And notice in that moment he didn't go, well, I guess I need to change my whole plan. People are disappointed in me. Let's rethink this whole thing. Let's back up. Hold on. No, no, no. He still knew he was headed the right direction, and yet he's still facing a challenging interaction here when he's talking with Annas. Annas is called the high priest in this moment. That's confusing because he'll call Caiaphas the high priest, but it's much like he, Annas wasn't the active high priest, Caiaphas was. Much like you'll call a former president Mr. President, still considered that way, but Annas confronts Jesus and here’s the word that I think sums up the way Jesus handled all of that disappointment that’s swirling in this moment. Just one word. Jesus defends. In the midst of the accusations, in the midst of the disappointment he defends. Look back at what he says when Annas questions him. He says, I've spoken openly to the world. This is verse 20. I've always taught in synagogues and in the temple. Look, this is who I am. This is what I've done. You can check it with your spies that have been following me around in the crowd. You already know the truth. Jesus, in that moment, just pauses to stand for truth. He doesn't pretend. He doesn't change his message. He doesn't become someone else. He doesn't cater to the disappointment. Now, look, here's what I've done. It's true. You've seen it. You can verify it. And he's kind of also in a subtle way. This whole process is a mess. He's kind of subtly calling him to also stand for truth. Look, you know, you've drug me out at night. I'm not in front of a real trial. You've used these rogue soldiers. This isn't done right. So Jesus responds and defending himself in this moment. Notice how Annas responds, though. Annas In this moment, the word he uses, I think that sums up his reaction to this disappointment because he obviously is disappointed in Jesus. I mean, they've tried to hint over and over again, We don't want you doing this. We don't want you teaching. Know your place Jesus. His disappointment, though, turns, I think, the word to use here. It turns to disdain. Disdain, hatred, contempt. How dare you mess up my plan? How dare you undermine my authority and plan in power? In fact, in this moment, his disdain, it really. It turns to violence. One of his cronies smacks him across the face, likely kind of some backhanded slap in that moment. And it's really interesting to see how Jesus responds. You look at verse 23 after he gets hit, verse 23 says. Notice it doesn't say and Jesus hitting him back said... No, Jesus defends himself, but he's not defensive. You know that. You know, you understand the difference. No, Jesus answered him and the midst of Anna says, Disdain, hatred. He said, Now, look, if you have reason, defend that. And here's what happens. Annas- and when you back someone into corner and they're at the end of logic, they go to anger. They go to violence. Tim Keller talks about how anger often reflects the idols in our heart. The thing we must protect and defend above all else. You see that coming out here. And he knows I've got nothing left. And he sends them on to Caiaphas, the next step of the process. His heart remains hard. The disdain and hatred stays there. He doesn't soften at all. Now let's look again. We turn back to Peter here and their interaction once again to get our final. There are five disappointments in this passage. We'll get our final disappointment here. Look at verse 25, now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, you also are not one of his disciples, are you? He denied it and said, I am not. Same thing he said before, we get another denial. One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, Did I not see you in the garden with him? Peter again denied it. And at once a rooster crowed. We know Peter denied in the midst of his disappointment. In fact, he does it again here. He had this moment and I can almost imagine them catching eyes. Locking eyes and him going, no, I've seen this guy before. I mean, I'm sure you've had that. You may have had that happen this morning even, Right. Had that happen once at church. When I first came back here, when I first came as pastor, I had grown up here and I knew one of the things that would happen is there would be lots of little old ladies I hadn't seen in 30 years who would remember me and I wouldn't remember them. And I thought, How am I going to navigate this? And I was at this dinner and I'm sitting at the table. I got seated right next to a lady and right away, no, know, I know who she is. Who is she? I can't remember her name. And I'm searching for hints the whole time, glancing at her. And I'm looking for help for someone. No one's offering me any help. Finally she turns to me and goes, You've been staring at me this whole time trying to figure out who I am. Haven't you? I said yes. You've got me. Guilty as charged. Tell me, please help me out. I'm sorry. I used to drive you to elementary school every day for years. Yes, I remember right away. I remembered. Yes, I know. Thank you. I'm sorry. You have changed a little. Give me a little bit of credit. So have I. Peter, In this moment, Oh, who is this guy? I know this guy. You cut off my family member's ear. Yes, I remember that. That's pretty memorable. Nope. Wasn’t me. Peter denies it in the moment. And then what happens?The very thing that Jesus predicted:
you will deny me and a rooster will crow. And we don't see it here. You got to jump across Matthew, Mark and Luke, the other gospel accounts. But his response to that in that moment, I would say dejection, utter dejection. In fact, it says he ran out and he wept and cried and wailed. One of them translations, he wept bitterly. Not crazy about that word wept bitterly. It makes it sound like his tears were bitter or he was a bitter person. That word also severely. It also is used to translate to describe the roar of a lion as ferocious. He's wailing. He's inconsolable. His heart is at its desperate end. He is in complete regret for having done something he thought he would never do. And I'm guessing some of us have said the same thing. I thought I would never do that. I thought I would never cross that line. I swore that would never happen. You're not alone. Peter was there. Peter -- listen, I don't care what you've done. You've not done that. To his face, I'll never deny you. I don't even know you. You have faced disappointment. Peter faced disappointment. Jesus faced disappointment. You're not alone. How do we respond to this disappointment that we've all encountered? What do we do? I think there's four things we can do in this passage. Four ways that actions we can take. Four ways we can respond to disappointment. Four ways we can handle disappointment. Let's look at this first one. Number one, don't become isolated. In the midst of your disappointment don't become isolated. That's how the passage starts. Peter and another disciple. Yeah, they're at a distance from Jesus, but they're staying together. In fact, Peter, the friend he stayed near is the one who brings him closer to Jesus. Which really leads us to number two. Stay near Jesus. In the midst of your disappointment don't get isolated, don't get alone, and stay near Jesus. I think too often when there's a letdown, maybe you think I tried that it didn't work. The temptation is just to give up on the whole thing, but stay near Jesus. That may mean you have to back off. That may mean you're like, I can only just sit in the back and come in and out and just barely interact with people for the season. I don't know what that means for you, but stay near him. Don't just bail on the whole thing. Listen, he loves you. He really does. And he's going to keep pursuing you. And it may take time. Take that time, but stay near him in the midst of it. Now, this next one, I got this one from a guy, Josh Moody and his commentary on John. But I love this phrase so much that I just wanted to put it up on screen. Number three, be careful not to treat every denial as a betrayal. Isn’t that a good wording? Be careful not to treat every denial as a betrayal. The two are different. What Judas did was different than what Peter did, and someone in their weakness and their immaturity as a Christian may deny Jesus. Don't immediately assume that they are betraying and hate him and never want to have anything to do with him again. Continue to love on them, continue to pursue them, even in the midst of the confusion of that, you may wonder who are they? I thought I knew them. I don't know who they are. Keep pursuing them. Don't assume that a denial is the same as a betrayal. And then number four, stand firm for truth. Stand firm for truth. That's what Jesus did when he was met with Annas and Caiaphas. He stood firm for truth. He didn't change truth to accommodate the culture, and he stood firm for truth. And we live in such a crazy age where everything is being redefined every week, it seems like. What are you going to stand on? If it's not this, what are you going to stand on? If it's anything else, it will change next week. It really will. What are you going to stand on? Stand firm for truth. In the midst of the disappointment, come back to truth. Have a foundation to stand on in the midst of truth. Because the reality is you're going to face disappointment. Disappointment will happen. I read a story recently of a guy. He became a stockbroker trader on Wall Street, but so much pressure was put on him as a kid. In fact, his dad's dream was that one of his kids would go to Harvard. They were immigrants. His parents had worked hard to help his family be successful. And my dream one day is that one of my kids would go to Harvard and his son, he did well. He did really well in school, valedictorian of a successful school. But he didn't have what it takes to make it into Harvard. Still made it into an amazing school. A great school obviously does well for himself. But on his 18th birthday, his dad presents him with a plaque and it said on it, To my son, who has shattered my dreams. Can you imagine? How petty of the father to do that? You may have faced disappointment. Someone has said to you, You have let me down. All my dreams are ruined because of you. You may have experienced being disappointed by someone else. I spoke with a gentleman this week who said when my parents separated in that moment, I faced a tremendous amount of disappointment. There was a hole. There was a gap in my life that I desperately wanted them to fill that for years I couldn't put a voice to. There was a hurt, a disappointment there. Rightfully so, by the way. Here's what I want you to hear today. Whatever disappointment you faced, whatever it is, there is one who faced a much greater disappointment than whatever it was. And that's not to minimize your disappointment, but it's to give you the hope it means to find hope in him. Why have you forsaken me? Jesus feeling the utter dejection on the cross? Denial. I mean the weight of complete turning away from his father in that moment. That's unlike any disappointment any of us have faced. In the midst of your disappointment, turn to him. He's there for you. Turn to him. Find hope and joy in him. Come to him, repent. Say Jesus, I'm sorry for how I've lived. I'm sorry for how I've run from you. And I know hope is found in you. Restore me. Because look, Peter, we're going to see in a few chapters the guy - I will never deny you. I don't even know you - that guy Jesus restores. And I don't know what you've been through. I don't know what journey you've been on. Whatever it is he can restore you too. Let's pray