“Make it stop”. Have you said those words lately? Though we may disagree on the causes, I think we would agree that life keeps on spinning – sometimes seemingly out of control. Make it stop!
Recently, I’ve been reading through the Gospels over and over again in my personal devotion time. In Matthew 16, Peter knows a little about a “make it stop” world.
As the great author Charles Dickens (p. 1) wrote, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times”. At one moment, Jesus is telling Peter that his confession that “Jesus is the Messiah” will carry the church forward. And the next moment, Peter is listening to Jesus explain how he is going to die. Can you imagine? Make it stop.
And then, on top of everything, Peter is told by Jesus to “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23). Ouch. Make it stop.
The good news is that Jesus does make the world stop. The world stops as He dies on the cross and says, “it is finished”. The world stops as he places his life into the hands of God, our Father. The world stops as angels stand in awe on Easter morning when the dead Jesus is made alive.
Jesus doesn’t make anything stop in power, fear, force, or volume. Jesus doesn’t make anything stop in the destruction of people’s reputations, bending words, or burning bridges. Jesus makes it all stop when - as the song, O Praise the Name - Anastasis puts it: “I cast my mind to Calvary; where Jesus bled and died for me; I see His wounds, His hands, His feet; my Savior on that cursed tree” (Ussher, Sampson & Hastings, v. 1).
What to do in a “Make It Stop” Moment and World
Remember that You’re in God’s Hands.
Call it what it is. Admit reality. You’re in a “make it stop” moment. Embrace it. Admit that you’re also in God’s hands. Nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord (Romans 8:31-39).
Remember that we cannot make it stop. Only Jesus can do that.
Peter heard Jesus talk about how he has to die and rise again. Peter is not OK with what Jesus is saying or the idea of what Jesus has to do. Peter sees Jesus’ death and resurrection as failure. In other words, Jesus’ death and resurrection cannot make his swirling life and world in that moment, stop. Yet, Jesus’ death and resurrection does make everything stop. Sacrifice, grace, and love is the cure for evil. It’s the solution to hate. It’s the antidote for the sickness of sin and brokenness. It’s boldness to the insecure. It’s wealth to the poor. We cannot make all the wrongs around us stop - only Jesus can do that. And, He does.
Remember it’s not about me... it's about God.
Jesus doesn’t seek more. Jesus doesn’t seek a greater understanding. Jesus doesn’t acquire anything. Instead, Jesus says that it isn’t about him… it’s about His Father (I’ll be talking more about tis in this weekend’s message!). Or, in the words of the song, Be Thou My Vision: “Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise; Be Thou mine inheritance, now and always; Be Thou and Thou only the first in my heart, O high King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art” (Forgaill, v. 4).
Did you notice what all three of these involve? Remembering. Jesus has already made the world stop once. He does it again and again when you’re reminded of who God has made you to be and what you are called to do in this moment as you love God, love people, and live like Jesus.
Love you more than you know. - pt
Meet Pastor Tim
Tim Bayer has served as Our Savior's Lead Pastor since September 2019. He also serves as an Adjunct Instructor at Concordia University - Irvine, a National Leadership Facilitator and Resource, and a Community Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Tim studied sociology, psychology, and theology prior to earning his M.Div at Concordia Seminary - St. Louis. He has also is a candidate for an Ed.D (ABD) in Transformational Leadership. He is married to Beth and they have three young children. Together, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, experiencing culture, and pizza and movie nights.