Are We Ashamed?
In Mark 14 Jesus has gathered His disciples together to partake of the Feast of the Passover and at that time He institutes the Lord’s Supper. Thereafter, Jesus, knowing that His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion was near addresses Peter in verses 27 thru 31. “Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: I will strike the Shepard, And the sheep will be scattered. (28) But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.’ (29) Peter said to Him, ‘Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.’ (30) Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ (31) But he spoke more vehemently, ‘If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ And they all said likewise.” Here is a classic case of the old saying “easier said than done.” An example of where faith requires both word and deed. Peter spoke very boldly saying that he would not stumble, that he would not deny Christ, that he would stand boldly with the Master despite the consequences. Verses 66 thru 72 of Mark chapter 14 tell a different story, however. After Jesus had been arrested and is brought before the Sanhedrin, Peter who had been following in the distance is found in verse 66 below in the courtyard where one of the servant girls of the high priest recognized him and said this to Peter in verse 67, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” Verse 68 gives us Peter’s response, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying. And he went out on the porch , and a rooster crowed.” In verse 69 the servant girl spoke to the crowd that stood by and again stated, “This is one of them.” Verse 70 tells us that Peter once again denied the statement, but again those in the crowd around him said “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Peter again denied knowing or being acquainted with Jesus in verse 71 saying, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” (72) A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ And when he thought about it, he wept.”
When the pressure mounted and Peter realized there may be a consequence for admitting his relationship with Christ, unfortunately, he folded, he cowered, he denied His Lord and Master. It serves as a good example for us still today. Today it is much easier to say we are Christians on Sunday than it is to live as Christians not only on Sunday, but each and every day of the week. As Christian people we are followers of Christ, just as Peter was. We share a relationship with Jesus just as Peter did. We are his people, He is our Lord and Master, He is our authority, our example, and ultimately our Savior. Yet, how do we respond in situations where we have the opportunity to stand with Christ. How do we handle ourselves when being a Christian example, when doing what is right according to Christ is not the popular thing to do. Do we take full advantage of opportunities to share the gospel with others? Or, are we embarrassed of our relationship with Jesus and the faith on which we should stand? Paul stated in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Despite persecution Paul proclaimed the good news of salvation in Christ, living as an example for others to follow. As Christians we have the duty and responsibility to live for Christ, proclaiming the gospel to others, living as examples of the kind of people Jesus expects us to be. That requires backbone, it requires a resolve to stand on the truth despite the consequence. We will all, no doubt, stumble and fail from time to time as Peter did, but with study and spiritual maturity we grow, pick ourselves back up with the help of Christ and do better. Peter denied Christ in Mark 14, but Peter realized his faults, grew in the faith, and went on to accomplish great things for the cause of Christ despite many hardships and persecutions for doing so. Notice what was said of Peter later in Acts 4:13 because of his preaching of the gospel message, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.” Peter learned from his mistakes and resolved to do better for his Lord and Master. May we have the same resolve and boldness for Christ.
- Garrett Alsip