Peter’s Epic Fail: Before We Condemn Peter for Denying Christ, How Often Do We Do It?

Posted: May 17, 2015 in Gospel of Luke
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Luke 22:54-62 — Epic fail. That is the phrase often used today for when a person makes a spectacular or embarrassing mistake. This moment was Peter’s epic fail. For all of his bravado about dying for Jesus, he fails when it counted. Under pressure, with the game on the line, Peter misses the game winning shot. He followed at a distance instead of being out front trying to convince everyone that Jesus should not be arrested and tried in this way. When questioned about his relationship with Jesus, he denied knowing Him not one, not just twice, but three times in a row. Epic fail. Choke. How often do we fail Jesus Christ? How often do we deny Him?

Peter denied knowing Jesus because fear had gripped him. He thought he might be arrested for having known Jesus. Although he had spent 3 years with Jesus, he was ready to throw Him under the bus when the pressure was on. The question becomes what will we do when the pressure is on. There are many who do not deny Christ daily around the world. Christians are dying daily around the world in countries that are hostile to Christ. In the Middle East, In Nigeria, in North Korea, In China, we don’t hear about the daily deaths of Christ followers. How are we going to be when the pressure is on? How do we act now?

There are many ways in which we deny Christ. We can deny Him when we do not speak up for Him when we are among non-believers. We deny Him when their conversations are mistaken about Jesus Christ and about being a Christ follower. We are like Peter when this happens. We just want to fit into the crowd and not be singled out. We do not speak up at work when standing around the water cooler and the conversation turns to off color comments about the pretty young woman who just walked by. We deny Christ when we do not speak. Yes, we can deny Him by our silence.

We can deny knowing Jesus by our actions. We can deny Him when we live in ways that are opposite to Scripture. We often say the reason we do not verbally witness for Jesus Christ is because we let our lives speak of Him. What if you life is speaking the wrong words. We may be the only Jesus Christ some people ever see. We live in a world now, even in the South, the Bible Belt, where there are second generations of people who have never darkened the door of a church. The world is becoming increasing secular and more biblically illiterate. We may be the only evidence in their lives of Jesus Christ. If we are living our lives to just be comfortable and fit into the crowd and act just as they do, we are denying Christ more powerfully than Peter. Are you and I spending so much time being “in the world” that no one can tell the difference between us and a non-believer? How often do we deny Christ with our actions?

How often do we deny Christ with our inaction? Many of us Christ followers sit behind our fences and say that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and bemoan the fate of the world. Yet we do nothing. We sit around and talk about how elected officials seem so concerned about tolerance that they are marginalizing the majority in favor of the rights of the few. We bemoan the lack of morality in the world and that anything does nowadays. Yet we do nothing. We should be out in the world trying to make a difference for Christ but we fear being singled out like Peter feared being singled out. We should be witness with words not just our lives. We should be running for public office at all levels so that we can influence the world for Christ. We should be loving the very people that are marginalizing us. We should be demonstrating the love of Christ to a world that sure does need to know Him more than ever. We should have the resolve to be different. We should not sit quietly behind our fences and point at the world and say there is nothing that can be done. We can deny Christ by our inaction.

Help us, Father, to be a people who have the resolve to not deny you in our daily lives. There will be day when it will cost us something to be a Christ follower here in the United States. May we begin practicing now in the art of not denying you in the little things of life so that when it really counts that we will not deny you when life and liberty are at risk. Help us to have the resolve of the martyrs past and present who were willing to die rather than deny their faith in Jesus Christ. Help us to be your people when it costs us something more than discomfort. Help us to be the kind of people that would willingly rather die than deny. Give us that kind of love for your Son. Help us Lord, oh Lord, help us, not to deny you when the pressure is on. Help us oh Lord, help us. Amen.

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