Many of us are familiar with the account in all four gospels when Peter denied Jesus 3 times (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and John 18). Tensions were high surrounding Jesus and he was giving his friends a play-by-play from the future like only God can.
Jesus said, “Tonight all of you will desert me.” Hmmm. That must have been more than a little awkward to say and to hear. Peter was none too pleased with this accusation though. Jesus was dead wrong about this. That would never happen. “I will never deny you!” was Peter’s impassioned reply.
What a fantastic gift though! I would really love a heads up minutes before I make a mess of things. Jesus wasn’t vague. He didn’t speak in parables. He included some serious details. He mentioned the number of times Peter would deny him. He even went so far as to describe which animal Peter would hear after all the denying.
Ah, Peter. He was chronically popping off, his impassioned intentions yielding less than satisfactory results. If I were Peter I would have rounded up the village roosters and put them outside the city gates. Next, I would have high-tailed it away from people and hid in a closet. Whew. Now I can’t possibly deny Jesus.
This, by the way, would be the car I would have used to gather said roosters:
The disciple was so confident he wouldn’t deny Jesus, however, that he didn’t need to hide. Because I know myself, hiding would have been my entire plan. Now, I would never set out to deny Him, but I know it’s conceivable given the right circumstances.
At church our pastor said something got me thinking. He said, “The enemy isn’t trying to get you to renounce Christ, He’s trying to get you to act like you don’t know Him.”
My opportunities to deny Jesus don’t take place on just one night like in the example of Peter. They can occur at any time of day. Even on weekends or holidays! This paradigm shift makes my hiding plan no longer feasible as I will eventually have to be around other humans. I’ve mentioned it before but I would still like to get rid of roosters.
What my pastor said gives me great pause. It prompts me to shine lights on areas of my life I don’t typically consider as possible points of denial. Do I act like I know Him in the tone of voice I use with my children? Is it apparent that I know Him in the way I spend my free time, the things I buy, the topics of conversation I choose, the things my mind ponders? Our lives are composed of our choices. Maybe we don’t outright deny him in public but do we slyly ignore him and push him out of areas we’ve deemed “too personal” or where we’ve decided He’s irrelevant?
You guys, let’s be intentional about not acting like we don’t know Jesus (accidentally or otherwise) in the choices we make today. He will show up. He promised. 1 Thess 5:24 “God will make it happen, for He who calls you is faithful.”