The Prediction: Matthew 26:31-35
The Denial: Matthew 26:69-75
Obviously, fear for his life was the motivational factor that caused Peter to lie and deny his Lord, whom he loved, so soon after vowing he would be true to Christ to the point of death.
I haven’t yet been called upon to deny Christ to the death as many others even now are. My fears are motivationally different. Yet I, like Peter, still deny Jesus. My way is more subtle and evasive. I deny Him through omission to acknowledge Jesus in my life to those who are non-believers. My omission is what I intentionally leave out of a good conversational opportunity to share Christ with friends and family or neighbors and co-workers. It’s my failure to acknowledge my life relationship to Christ and my good news for them.
My denial of Jesus through omission is due to fear of other people’s rejection and disapproval, anger, disgust, or dismissal. I don’t want to experience their disrespect or disregard. Nor do I want to experience loss of social standing or job opportunity or promotion or to be thought of as less than intelligent, narrow-minded, judgmental, ignorant, naïve, non-inclusive, or even the fear of outright mockery and ridicule!
It’s my foolish pride and lack of humility that gets in the way of my love and obedience to Jesus. My willingness to speak openly of a faith in a Savior becomes a freezing, paralyzing FEAR and so I don’t speak openly and I don’t share my good news with a lost and dying world. In short, Jesus is denied, unlike Peter, with my mouth closed shut!
Jesus warns us of denial consequences. In Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV): “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (RSV and NKJV use “deny.”) Read these verses again in context (Matt. 10:16-42) and ask yourself whom Jesus is addressing in this warning.
Lord, grant us the courage to confess Christ with our open mouths, to those we’re privileged to meet or know, the truth of Romans 10:9—that if they also will confess with their mouths and acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, they, like us, will be saved!
May love and not fear be our overriding motivation for sharing the gift of eternal life in Jesus, remembering that John, in his first letter to the churches (4:18), tells us, “God’s perfect love casts out fear.”
By Louise Williams