Representations of denial

And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 

This has escaped me in reading John 18 before regarding Peter’s denial of Christ. It is not just that Peter denied that he knew Christ to a slave girl, but Peter gained access by another disciple who was known to the girl as a disciple of Christ. I  wonder where the other disciple was while Peter was denying Christ to the slave girl.

Why would Peter be intimidated to admit to a slave that he not only knows Christ, but that he is also Christ’s follower?  I look as this scene and wonder this because she would be considered more of a piece of property at that time than a person.  Why deny Christ, especially when she knew Peter was friend’s with the disciple who told her to let Peter in?  Who was she to Peter that he wouldn’t just be honest?  She could assume Peter’s relationship to Christ based on Peter’s relationship with the disciple that she knew.

It is easy for me to pass judgement on Peter for denying Christ.  Peter was right there with Christ, with this other disciple.  But how am I representing Christ to those who already know my relationship to Him? Christ is right here with me, in me.  Maybe I am not verbally denying Christ, but actions speak much louder.

Are there times that my actions don’t reflect my relationship with Christ?  Are there times that it is easier for me to go along with the crowd, than stand up and do the right thing?  Not that I allow others to walk me into “blatant” sin, but if there is something I know I shouldn’t do and I do it anyway, it is a sin.  Choosing sin is denying the power of Christ in my life.  Do I allow myself to engage it gossip, or even just listen passively, when I should speak up?  If I am honest at times, yes.  I dishonor God with my body, gluttony is a sin and one only needs to look at the scale to know that I continue to deny His power in this area of my life. I know God forgives me, but it was a convicting thought as I read this passage passing judgement on Peter.

Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.  Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!”

Then Peter denied Christ to servants and officers.   He took it from a one on one denial, to a public denial.  Again, these servants had nothing to offer Peter, but Peter had everything to offer them –  Christ.  The officers could have chosen to take Peter in with Jesus and persecuted Peter alongside Jesus.  Peter had said even to the point of death would not leave Jesus, yet even with death not on the table Peter denied Christ.

characterHow do I represent Christ to those who have nothing to offer me and those who could potentially persecute me? I like to think that I offer compassion and hope to those who have nothing to offer.  That I treat them with dignity and respect, but do I offer them Christ?  Do I consistently point them to the One who can truly make all the difference in their life?  Or do I quietly deny that He holds the answer by offering them other resources?  Part of this is listening to the Holy Spirit, as there are times that action is what someone needs first.  However, part of my response at times is pure denial.  I don’t want to take the time to open that door, to be inconvenienced, to have that deep conversation regardless of what the Holy Spirit prompts me to do.

And there are times that I remain quiet instead of engaging in the persecution of another.  Times where a word comes to mind, but I don’t want to isolate myself or the other person, so speaking the truth in love becomes a quiet denial of the Truth.  I am not facing death, or even physical persecution, I just choose not to put the Truth out there because I don’t want to deal with the verbal/written persecution of others.  God’s Word remains Truth, regardless of political correctness and cultural tolerance.  Again, I know God forgives my shortcomings and failures, but the conviction of my denials are brought to reality when I stop to really look at how I handle situations.

One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

Then Peter denied Christ to someone who knew his past behavior in the garden.  This person had a first hand experience with Peter.  The servant not only saw Peter with Jesus, the servant saw Peter cut off the servant’s own family member’s ear in anger.  You don’t generally forget someone who attacked a family member just hours before in front of you.

How am I representing Christ to those who know who I have been in the past?  I am not the same person I used to be, but sometimes when I get around certain people the old flesh man comes up.   I can quickly turn into a spoiled, selfish brat and deny the truth that my life is not my own and things aren’t all about me.  I try to guard against this as it is easier to do with certain personalities, but I know at times I still revert back to my childhood and teenage ways.

I can also easily go down a rabbit trail of my “fun party days” and all the crazy, sinful things I used to do – as if because I serve God now my life is no longer interesting.  I glorify that sinful life instead of God who delivered me from it.  My past is one I’m not really proud of, except to say that God has used what I have done and been through to help others for His glory.   When I share what God has brought me out of, it should point to Him, not deny Him.  These are two areas that God had already shown me needed to change in my life, and that I surrender to Him when it comes to my awareness that I’m doing it.

Does my life reflect I know Him and the reveal Him to those I encounter or do I deny Him through my words and actions?  I am the only Bible some people will ever read.  Sometimes it may be a person that has no relationship to me, but that I meet through a friend.  My life should reflect my relationship with Christ.  Sometimes it will be a person who has nothing to offer me.  I should offer them Christ because of my relationship with Him.  Sometimes my life may be read by someone with completely different views than they have, someone who may persecute me.  My life and words should still reflect the Truth of God’s Word.  When I run into someone who knows the life I used to live, my words and actions should reveal to them a life transformed by the power of Christ.  Wherever I am, with whoever I am with, my life and words should reflect who I am in Christ and who He is in my life.  His Word says “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 10:33



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