Let me set the scene for us today.
Jesus has been arrested – betrayed by Judas, his disciple (Mt. 26:47, 57).
His disciples all left him and fled (Mt. 26:56).
Peter, one of Christ’s closest circle, followed at a distance(Mt. 26:58). Christ had warned Peter earlier that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed (Mt. 26:34). Peter pledged his loyalty to Jesus saying, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” (Mt. 26:35).
As Jesus stood before the high priest, Peter sat among the guards in the courtyard just outside. As he sat in their midst, “a servant girl came up to him and said, ‘you also were with Jesus the Galilean.'” (Mt. 26:69) Peter replied, ‘I do not know what you mean.’ (Mt. 26:70)
A second time another servant girl points him out to bystanders as one that was with Jesus. Peter “again denied it with an oath: ‘I do not know the man.'” (Mt. 26:72). Yet a third time, bystanders indicate that Peter’s accent betrays him as one of Christ’s followers and Peter “began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, ‘I do not know the man.'” (Mt. 26:74).
That was all to set the scene.
It is a familiar scene but I share it to make a point.
It is easy to sit here in the 21st century –a few thousand years later– wondering what Peter could have been thinking. Jesus warned him of the forthcoming denial. He was a faithful follower of Jesus up to this point. Yet fear overtook him and denial seemed safest.
Did you ever ask yourself, what would you have done? Would you and I have fared any better?
Would you and I ever say, “I do not know the man?”
Hang on because I am about to make a sharp turn.
When we sin and go our own way – are we not essentially saying, not with words but with our actions, “I do not know the man?” To the servant girls and bystanders in our lives who see us walking our own path, are we not communicating to them “I do not know the man?”
In a world that seems to be more and more hostile to Jesus and His followers, how do you and I live out our lives in a way that says, “I know the Man. His name is Jesus. I will not deny Him?”
Diane Hunt is a Biblical Counselor, Women’s conference and retreat speaker and author. She serves as the Director of Partner Care and Director of Women’s Ministries at America’s Keswick. She and her husband John have two married children and four grandchildren. She loves reveling in warm sunny climates and playing with her grandchildren.