“You are not one of his disciples, are you?” the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” John 18:17 (NIV)
He gets into the courtyard where they have taken Jesus to be interrogated. Peter is afraid that someone will find out about His part with Jesus. It would not be the safest thing to do at this stage to let the angry and hostile crowd know that He is a follower and a Disciple of Christ. Jesus Himself told Peter that this would happen, but for the moment this is the last thing on His mind. He is just trying to stay alive and find out what the world will do with his Lord. But then someone comes right out and asks him. Someone recognizes him as a follower of Jesus. So Peter is put on the spot. He is forced to vocalize where he stands with Christ. His fear overcomes him. He lies. He denies his relation Jesus. He lets his Saviour down. Is his lie betraying not only that he spent time with Jesus? Does his lie uncover something he needs to see himself? Does it show Peter that although he loves Jesus, he is still able to turn his back on Him in certain situations? Is it a question he needs to find the answer in painful reality for him to discover where his heart really is? Could it be a good question to ask ourselves?
Peter thought that he loved his Lord. But when his earthly life was threatened he found that he was able to betray Jesus. When a situation arose where standing by Jesus meant uncertainty and judgment from this world, Peter backed away from the danger. His faith was put to the test and he failed. It was a painful lesson for him to learn. But he lived through the experience. Peter cried bitterly when he learned that the world could still manage to place distance between him and Christ. A threatening and excruciating moment that Peter had to live through brought him to see the answer to a simple question. But it is a question that holds the weight of eternity. Before eternity, the question of where we stand with Jesus tells us where we stand with God. It is the question of our lifetime. It is what holds us from salvation and death. It is what puts us on the side of Good or on the side of evil. It is what gives life or forever removes us from the possibility of ever having it. Everything hinges upon the answer to this question. Is it something we take seriously? If so, then how seriously?
It may make us feel better to let our current light-hearted brand of Christianity to tell us that all is well. It might be nice to try and tell ourselves that we love Jesus like Peter thought he did. But sooner or later we will be put to the test. Someday we will be put on the spot. Our moment will come to us like it did to Peter when we least expect it. How are we going to be able to respond? Should we take some crucial time alone with our Lord now to prepare ourselves? Shall we work out with Him ahead of time just what our answer will be? Can we afford to risk being caught in a lie? Should we ask Jesus now to help us answer a good question that should be burning a hole in our hearts too?
We do not want to be caught by surprise. We want to humble ourselves and come to You now. We need Your help with this question that could be asked of us. How can we be sure of our love for You? How can we make our love so real and so genuine that nobody needs to ask us? Help us find the answer to a good question. Let us know where our hearts truly stand with You now! Show us the answer! We need to know before this burning we feel inside for You consumes us!