Dean’s Lent Addresses 2018: The Passion according to St John – Denied

On this page you can find details of the second of the Dean of Melbourne’s Lent Addresses 2018, The Passion according to St John: Denied. You can find the first Lent Address here.

For Christians, Lent is a period of renewal and growth.

In this address, the Dean of Melbourne, the Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, reflects on Peter’s denial of Jesus as told in the Passion of St John, and on the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s reflection in a moving chorale on Peter’s reaction to the denial of his friend and master.

You can read the readings Dean Andreas reflects on in his talk, and you can watch his talk.

When you have done so, you may wish to use the questions for group reflection our congregations are using for their Lent discussion, You may wish to conclude by praying the prayer used at our Lent discussion.

Readings for the Second Sunday in Lent:

You first may wish to read the Bible reading on which this talk is based: John 18.12, 15-18, 25-27.

Dean’s Address:

Questions for Group Discussion or Individual Reflection:

  • Reflecting on Dean Andreas’s sermon and our readings today, why do you think Peter, one of the first to be called as a disciple, and the friend whom Jesus called his ‘foundation’, chose to deny him? Have you ever faced a situation where you lied in order to get out of embarrassment or shame?
  • In his sermon, Dean Andreas reminds us that Jesus did not condemn Peter, but looked at him with compassion. Although Peter denied his friend, Jesus did not deny Peter. What does this teach us about God’s grace and mercy?
  • Peter wanted to give everything for Jesus and defended him with a sword, yet under public pressure he denied knowing him altogether. How does God meet us in our weaknesses? What can we do when we are disloyal, or miss the chance to be strong?
  • After the resurrection, Jesus will ask Peter three times, ‘do you love me’? Do we love Jesus, and how can we show our love for him to others?
  • Jesus has a plan for Peter that goes beyond his denial of his friends. What do you think Jesus is calling you to do when you fail in following his commands?
  • The composer Johann Sebastian Bach makes the link between our lack of contrition, ‘when I have done evil’, and Jesus’ merciful invitation to look at him and be forgiven. In this light, what may ‘turning from sin and turning to Christ’ mean to you? What may we need to deny in ourselves to be better followers of Jesus?

Dean Andreas’s invitation for the Week ahead:

“This story is one of restoration and grace: it is possible for a liar to become a hero, is possible for Christ’s denier to become one of his greatest confessors. It is right that Peter should be depicted here in gold and precious stone because he models for us repentance: the one who weeps bitterly as he rues his sin is model for us. This week I  invite you to reflect on what it is that stands between us and God’s love, what it is that we need to bring to God’s gaze of grace in confession.

A Prayer at the end of your study time:

Merciful Lord, you know our struggle to serve you: when sin spoils our lives and overshadows our hearts, come to our help, look upon us with mercy and compassion, and turn us back to you again; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

© The Dean and Chapter of St Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne, 2018


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