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Boasting of Self and Ashamed of Jesus

Mark 14:66-70
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. 'You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,' she said. But he denied it. 'I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,' he said, and went out into the entrance. When the servant-girl saw him there, she said again to those standing round them, 'This fellow is one of them.' Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, 'Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.' (NIVUK)

What a pathetic sight; the larger-than-life fisherman was trying to be brave - yet he was also trying to hide.  Having daringly swung his sword at those arresting Jesus, cutting off the High Priest's servant's ear (Mark 14:47), Peter fled away from Jesus in the darkness of Gethsemane.  All the disciples ran away (Mark 14:50).  But he was the one who protested that he would never leave Jesus; he would die with Him if necessary (Mark 14:29-31).

What brought Peter to the courtyard of the High Priest where Jesus was first charged?  John 18:12-16 says that John joined Jesus when He was taken to the High Priest.  John knew the High Priest and also knew the servant girl on duty, asking her to let Peter in.  Warming himself by the courtyard fire to take the chill off the night, perhaps Peter thought he would merge in with the crowd.  Not so!  A servant girl spotted him and drew attention to him.  The mouth that had professed undying loyalty to Jesus now claimed he knew nothing about Jesus.  As he shuffled off, everybody was watching him: they listened to a crescendo of denials in his strong northern Galilean accent.

Peter was now unexpectedly centre-stage.  It was just where he did not want to be - even though he had boasted that he could handle it for Jesus.  Bravado was not enough.  The moral poverty of his prayerlessness (Mark 14:37-41) was about to be revealed.  He was surrounded and accused of knowing Jesus ... a thousand pictures may have been racing through his mind, but they were all about Peter.  The words and powerful miracles of Jesus had been forgotten, he was fighting for survival, and he felt sickeningly alone. Trapped like a rabbit in the headlights (but much more vocal), he forgot he was a friend of Jesus, and lied to save his skin.

Have you ever been trapped by a simple question about your relationship with Jesus?  Many smiling churchgoers are not so brave at work or the family party.  We may be concerned about what others think about us, frightened that we may lose their friendship or scared that the atheist or cynic will shred our flimsy intellectual arguments.  We may just be tired of a constant barrage from those who claim to love us, or we are weary of being the daily object of fun.  Ducking, weaving, hiding and lying are no solutions.  Just look them in the eye and tell them that you love Jesus, despite your faults, because He has loved you and does so every day!  And tell them that Jesus loves them too and wants them to be released from their past through being forgiven, because He has already been punished instead of them.  The Apostle Paul said,"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes …" (Romans 1:16).  The reason to be unashamed is not to make us look good but to reveal how wonderful a Saviour Jesus is.  Practice by telling somebody today.

Father God. Thank You that my relationship with Jesus is so precious; an eternal lifeline and a daily end to loneliness. Forgive me for the times when I have chosen not to identify with Jesus in front of my family and friends. Help me always to be true about my relationship with Jesus. Help me to know Your presence with me as I take Your side at work and at home. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams