Are You or Aren't You?
Bible Reading: Mark 14:66-72
“That man is definitely one of them!” Peter denied it again. Mark 14:69-70
WHEN THE JEWISH LEADERS put Jesus on trial for claiming to be God’s Son, a few yards away in the courtyard another trial -- an unofficial one -- was going on.
Only a few hours earlier Peter had boldly told ‘Jesus, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will” (Mark 14:29). But as Jesus faced the Sanhedrin, Peter huddled in the shadows near a fire outside, hoping to learn the fate of Jesus.
At Peter’s “trial” three witnesses spoke up about his connection to Jesus: “You were one of those with Jesus”; “That man is definitely one of them”; “You must be one of them” (Mark 14:67, 69-70). Three times Peter denied he followed Jesus: “I don’t know what you’re talking about”; “Peter denied it again”; “I swear by God, I don’t know this man you’re talking about” (Mark 14:68-71). Then a rooster’s crow reminded Peter that Jesus had predicted this denial the night before. Peter was shattered with grief “and he broke down and cried” (Mark 14:72).
Know it or not, your identity as a believer in Christ is called into question almost daily. A friend of yours messes up and needs a Christian friend to pray and give biblical advice -- Do you say anything? A representative of a cult wants you to take their literature -- Do you share Jesus? Or a group of Christians at your school wants you to join them in sponsoring a Christian band at a campus outreach -- Do you let yourself be spotted as part of the group?
As a committed Christian, you will step forward and be Christ’s representative in each situation no matter what it costs you. But if you just follow a religion-the same way you might belong to a political party -- then you might, like Peter, avoid any Christian activity that inconveniences or threatens you.
Peter, of course, was rescued from the despair he felt after he betrayed Jesus. After Jesus rose from the dead, he sought out Peter to encourage him (see John 21: 15-19). And after the Holy Spirit came down at Pentecost, Peter was a new guy with a new identity. He wasn’t just a companion of Christ. He was one with Christ because Christ’s Spirit lived in him. Peter’s boldness on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2) is a clue to how his devotion had radically deepened.
Identifying with Christ can make that huge difference in you too -- whether you’re counseling a friend, confronting a cult member, or taking part in an outreach rally. If you’re empowered by the Holy Spirit and someone puts your faith on trial, you won’t stand a chance of being acquitted.
REFLECT: Answer this pointed question: If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
PRAY: Lord, I face situations almost every day that tempt me to shrink from admitting I know you. Make me fearless and bold.