I dated a guy who was nice enough, smart enough and even kind enough, but he didn’t have the physical attributes that my group of friends thought he should have. I had no problem talking with him on the phone, at lunch, in private, taking gifts from him.
When we walked in the mall, though, I just hoped no one would see us together. I see now that I was ashamed of him.
A lot of us are like that when it comes to Jesus. We have no problem asking Him to meet our needs, asking Him to bless us, praying to Him, fellowshipping with Him in church and at home, but we have a problem being seen out in public with Jesus. We are ashamed of Him.
I can hear you saying, “I’m not ashamed of Jesus. I love Him.”
How many times have you wanted your own way instead of God’s way? How many times has God prompted you to talk to someone, and you didn’t? How many times have you heard someone putting Jesus down, and you didn’t defend Him? How many times have you denied knowing Jesus?
Jesus said in Matthew 10:33 (KJV), “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
I have so few people I can truly count on. It is reassuring to know that Jesus is on my side, that He is my Advocate before the Father, that He is my Mediator and my High Priest.
The writer of Romans says in chapter 8, verse 34 (TEV), “Who, then, will condemn them? Not Christ Jesus, who died, or rather, who was raised to life and is at the right side of God, pleading with him for us.” Jesus is in our corner. He has our back.
Now let’s look at Peter:
“Peter answered, ‘Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you and to die with you!’”
“‘I tell you, Peter,’ Jesus said, ‘the rooster will not crow tonight until you have said three times that you do not know me” (Luke 22:33-34).
After Jesus’ arrest, Peter and another disciple followed Jesus to the High Priest’s house. Instead of going into the courtyard with the rest of his group, Peter had to stand outside in the cold by the gate. The girl at the gate asked Peter, “Aren’t you also one of the disciples of that man?”
“No, I am not,” answered Peter. Denial number one.
The servants and guards were warming themselves over a charcoal fire. So Peter joined them.
The servants and guards asked Peter, “Aren’t you also one of the disciples of that man?”
Again Peter said, “No, I am not.” Denial number two.
One of the High Priest’s slaves, who happen to be a relative of the man whose ear Peter cut off, spoke up. “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden,” the man asked.
“No,” replied Peter. Denial number three.
Why did Peter deny Jesus three times? Was it because Peter thought he’d be punished too? Was it because Peter wanted to fit in with the group at the High Priest’s house? Was it because he was ashamed of Jesus and what He stood for? Was he ashamed of the Gospel?
It isn’t clear why Peter denied Jesus three times, but it is clear that Peter loved Jesus very much yet still denied Him.
Loving someone doesn’t mean we always act as we should, that we don’t do things out of fear, anxiety and out of stress. We can love someone and still deny that we know them.
Let’s say that someone put a gun to your head and asked, “Do you believe in God?” You may love Him very much, but at that moment, most of us wouldn’t be thinking about God. We would be thinking about how to preserve our lives.
It is in that moment, that you know who is controlling your life: you or God. It is in that moment, that you know how mature you are in your walk with Christ. Would you be willing to die for your beliefs? Would you be willing to die for God?
Most of us don’t face that situation every day.
When you choose to think thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word, you are denying what Christ did on the Cross and the fullness of our covenant with God. When you choose to say things that are contrary to the Bible, you are rejecting Christ. When you choose to treat people with disrespect, you are refusing to let God’s love and compassion flow through you.
Every day we have to choose to deny or to accept God through our thoughts, our words and our actions. For some people, we are the only glimpse of God they will ever see.
“I would have been a Christian if I hadn’t met one.” _ Mahatma Gandhi.
Did you know that before leading the revolution in India, Gandhi was exiled in Africa? There he sought the Lord and read the New Testament, becoming totally convinced that Jesus was Christ. He went to a Presbyterian Church service to give his life to God, but they wouldn’t let him in because he wasn’t the right skin color. Because of this, Gandhi led 750,000,000 people into a pagan religion.
Had that church showed him the love of Christ, 750,000,000 people wouldn’t have had to die without knowing Christ.
It is important that we understand how denying Christ and His characteristics affects the people in our lives and the people that will come across our paths in the future. It is when we strive to be like Christ, that we are truly accepting Him.
Remember what Ephesians 1:5 (AMP) says, “Therefore be imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father].”