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 servants 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. (John 18:17-18 ESV)
It’s easy to imagine ourselves in Peter’s place that night. In fact, it’s even easier to imagine ourselves in Peter’s place AND doing the right thing. We think that if we had walked with Jesus, talked with him face to face, seen him perform miracles time and again, that we wouldn’t have denied him. But here is the truth lurking below the situation: in that moment, for Peter to admit that he was indeed Jesus’ disciple meant probable imprisonment, even death. The truth is, we deny Jesus for a lot less every day.
Remember last week at work when your co-workers were gossiping about someone and you didn’t excuse yourself but joined in instead? Remember when you felt the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart to share the Gospel with a friend or relative when he or she had completely opened up to you, but you said something like, “It’ll all work out, don’t worry”?
Whatever your moments of denial have been it’s important to remember them, not so you feel condemned, but because they are gifts when rightly considered. They are humbling gifts because we get a glimpse of the fear that lives in our hearts and realize that at anytime we too can deny Jesus. And it’s not a fear that only rears its head when our life is in danger, it’s a fear that explodes when even the smallest part of our “reputation” is on the line. Examine your heart with the Holy Spirit today and look for those times where you’ve denied Jesus by either your words or actions and count them as a gift, because you won’t repeat them in the future.
Let’s repent of our denial and stay committed to Jesus even in our fear, as he is ever committed to us.