Lessons Of A Lifetime

Guilty Of Denial
A Longing Look Of Love
Sunday May 14, 2023

Scripture To Consider:
“The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. Jesus answered him, ‘I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.’

“And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, ‘Do you answer the high priest like that?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why did you strike Me?’ Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”

“Now Simon Peter stood 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!’ 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.”       John 18.19-27

Something To Consider:
Peter himself would eventually stand before Annas, the Jewish religious high priest, and Caiaphas the Roman appointed high priest in Acts chapter 4 after the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Only then will Peter be filled with the promised power and influence of the Holy Spirit.

When Peter stood before that future council there was a drastically different outcome. In the future Peter boldly stood firm while proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in the midst of all of his enemies. In the future Peter finally learned the lesson of a lifetime of faithfully enduring to the end without the slightest hint of denial.

According to Jesus in Luke 16.10; “He [or she] who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he [or she] who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” Peter proved to be faithful in both little and in much! What about us? In the eyes of God which go throughout the earth, are we seen as being faithful in both little and in much?

Something Else To Consider:
But for now, as Peter warmed himself by the world’s fire with those who lacked any spiritual concern for Christ, he denied Jesus a second time. And when he was recognized by a garden of Gethsemane eye witness, Peter denied knowing Jesus a third and final time.

And immediately a rooster crowed, just as Jesus had foretold and Peter was found guilty as charged of the crime of spiritual cowardice and out right denial. And yet, if the truth be known, Peter is not alone in his undeniable guilt and shame.

If we are like Peter, we too would probably have to admit our being guilty of the denial of Jesus in our past. But what about the future? What about the time of great tribulation that is coming, according to Jesus and much prophetic biblical writings. Will we succumb to denying Jesus and sealing our eternal fate by that denial when it most counts?

In Matthew 24.21 Jesus reported; “For then [the time of the rule of the Antichrist] for then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.” How bad will it be? According to Jesus, that time of great tribulation will be like no other time of difficulty in the past or in the future to come!

Something More To Consider:
Luke gives us a clear picture as if frozen in time, as he wrote in our Scripture to consider, of this very event in Luke 22.61, as Peter denied Jesus for the third time. Luke declared, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ So Peter went out and wept bitterly.”

This most serious scene conjures up an important question for all of us to consider. What kind of look was it on the face of Jesus when He looked upon Peter in his weakest moment of denial? Was it a look of disgust? Was it a look of disdain? Was it a look that declared without words, “How dare you Peter?”

Or was it a look of compassion and true concern for Peter? Was it an understanding look of love and forgiveness that would remain with Peter for the rest of his life? How we answer these questions speaks volumes of our spiritual perception of Jesus.

I believe as you believe it was a longing look of love that Peter received from Jesus that day when Peter was caught in the very act of denial. And that is the same look from Jesus that each of us have received from Jesus in our moment or moments of denial.

Jesus, in Revelation 2.10, affirmed to the much-persecuted church at Smyrna; “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Peter finally proved faithful even unto his own death, therefore Peter will receive Christ’s promised crown of life. Can the same be said of us?

A Few Final Words:
The mystery writer of Hebrews 10.23 instructed us by stating, “Let us hold fast [hold firm] the profession of our faith without wavering [without falling short]; For He [Jesus] is faithful who promised [who promised a crown of life to those faithful even unto death].”

Yes, we have all been guilty of the denial of Jesus both before and most likely after coming to Christ. But He was faithful unto death! Jesus said, “But whoever denies Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”

But Jesus also said, “Your sins are forgiven.” Praise God, if we have sought His forgiveness!

Our Father in heaven, keep us from the warmth of the world’s fire of temptation. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit of boldness for proclaiming Jesus to be who the Word of God claims Him to be, the Word of God, and yet God. In Him Always, Amen!

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