Standing Firm for Jesus

Scripture: John 18:26-27, ‘One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.’

 

Observations: When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane Peter had been surrounded by his friends, and in the heat of the moment he lashed out with his sword and cut off Malchus’ ear (v10). But now he was standing in the High-Priest’s courtyard surrounded by soldiers, when one of the high priest’s servants, one of Malchus’ relatives, recognizes him from the olive grove and challenges him. This is the third time Peter has been questioned, and ‘again Peter denied’ that he was one of Jesus’ followers, that he was there when Jesus was arrested. It’s worth noting that John doesn’t just connect Peter’s denial to his fear of being known as Jesus’ disciple, but also to the fact that Peter had taken up arms against the high priest’s servant, Malchus. There was more than one reason for Peter to be afraid. John tells us ‘at that moment a rooster began to crow.’ Jesus had told Peter the previous night that ‘before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! (13:38)’

 

Application: This brief story tells us four things. Firstly, identifying ourselves with Jesus can be a risky business. For Peter it may have resulted in arrest and questions and even death. Secondly, sometimes our actions can come back to haunt us. Peter probably never expected to meet the relative of the very man he had wounded. Thirdly, no matter how serious the consequences will we stand firm in our faith, will we identify ourselves with Jesus, no matter what? Fourthly, Jesus already knows our weaknesses and our failures before we fall. It’s interesting that for the three times Peter denies him Jesus gives Peter the same number of opportunities to re-declare his love for him (Jn 21:15-19). It’s in our failures and our weakness that we truly discover the grace of God.

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, sometimes I find it awkward or confronting to identify myself with Your Son, Jesus. Sometimes I’m aware that people will think of me differently if they find out I’m a Christian. And yet many of Your people are openly persecuted for their faith. Lord, I pray that You will give me faith like theirs. Help me to be bold and forgive me when I am timid. Lord, I thank You that You are gracious, that You know my weaknesses, that You know my failures, and yet You love me anyway. Lord, help me to stand firm for Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.

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