Injustice for political or financial gain is beyond frustrating. But it is our response to witnessing injustice that can reveal our integrity, our bravery or our cowardice. Our response can make a difference.
Jesus was arrested, bound and brought before the highest of the religious leaders (John 18:12-28). One cruel leader turned Him over to another cruel leader who then turned Him over to another cruel leader. These men may have been influential leaders but they were NOT servants of the people. They only wanted to protect their own personal interests for gain. Their motives were driven by selfishness and the desire for prestige and power. Standing before them was the One who threatened all of that … and their pocket book.
To his credit, Peter followed Jesus down the mountain into the treacherous valley. I can only imagine his thoughts, his confusion, and his concerns. However, as he followed, he maintained a “safe” distance. That way, he could blend into the “safe” world.
Jesus was taken into the high priest’s courtyard. When Peter could no longer see Jesus, the internal challenge began. He was asked three times if he was a disciple of Jesus and three times he denied Christ. Peter had exhibited such courage in the garden when he was surrounded by his friends. But it didn’t take long for him to succumb to fear when he entered the courtyard of an enemy of the gospel.
I’m no better. I, like Peter, call myself a follower and believe that Jesus is the Messiah whom I desperately need and yet I can easily deny Christ by my behavior. You?
It’s easy for us to pledge faith when surrounded by our family of fellow believers. But when we leave our secure, safe place and find ourselves surrounded by people who are hostile toward God and His ways, what happens to our bravado? We can be so courageous one moment, knowing we have good news to share. But the next moment, we can become cowards. We can desire to follow God’s ways one minute and the next minute, we can cave and follow the world’s ways.
Yet, in the face of displaced loyalty by those who knew Him best, Jesus remained faithful. In the midst of excruciating agony and pain – physical and emotional – Jesus was always faithful.
On display in this passage, we can see a sharp contrast between God’s ways and man’s ways. Man will lie. God will not. Man is afraid of what other men will think of him or do to him. God is not. Man strives for power and prestige. God has total power and honor. Man wants to know the truth when it benefits him. Jesus is the Truth. Man wants to know the way when it doesn’t inconvenience him. Jesus is the Way. Man will try to protect his life. Jesus is the Life.
Questions to ponder:
When have I denied Christ through by words or actions?
How can I avoid doing it again?