denial

Image of man denying

Read: John 13:30-38;18:15-27

Reflect: February is Black History month. A time to celebrate the many contributions of Black people toward the progress of this great nation: entertainment, sports, scientific discovery, exploration, and culturally. Yet, for so long we denied them their rights to live where they wanted to live; the right to work where they wanted to work; the rights a free people should have. They were treated not as people, but as mere property. They were denied.

denying the truth

Denial is the refusal to acknowledge a person or a thing. It can be easy to deny the truth of something. There are many examples of the sin of denial throughout history. One such incident of this egregious sin is found in our passage. Peter, the man who avowed to love Jesus, denies Jesus. Peter refuses to admit he even knows Jesus!

denial fast approaching

In John 13:34, Jesus gives a new commandment: A new commandment I give to you. Love one another. Even as I have loved you, you must love one another. After Jesus said those words, Peter proceeds to show his love by promising to follow Jesus till the ends of the earth. He wants to know where Jesus is going so that he can follow Jesus anywhere. Impulsive Peter.  Jesus challenges him on that very point. Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times. (John 13:38) Peter is shocked and confused concerning Jesus latest prophecy. Nevertheless, he determines to follow Jesus and to remain at his side. Until he isn’t! Denial is fast approaching on the horizon.

not a one time denial

Things begin to fall apart for Peter when Jesus is taken into custody. For the trial, the soldiers took Jesus to Anas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Peter is not allowed to enter the courtyard, but the other disciple with Jesus gains admittance. Asked if he is one of the disciples, Peter quickly answers: I am not! (John 18:17). This is not a onetime denial. It’s repeated. After Peter denies Jesus a third time, Peter hears a roster begin to crow. Peter realizes what he has done. He denied Jesus, the very Messiah Peter said he would follow to the ends of the earth. Peter couldn’t even follow Jesus to the end of the crooked court proceedings.

instead of denying….

Apply: All of us have denied someone at some point. Perhaps we haven’t been guilty of denying the black man of his rights, or the freedom that he deserves, but we have committed the sin of denial. Have you ever had the chance to share the Gospel with someone and you held back? Maybe you thought it wasn’t the right time, or the right place, or maybe you were just too scared. Do you have a best friend who uses the Lord’s name in vain, constantly? What do you do? Do you gently confront them and tell them exactly who Jesus really is? Or do you simply ignore it and deny that person the privilege of knowing who the real Jesus is? Don’t be like Peter, be honest. The next time you’re in a situation where you have a chance to stand for Jesus…..STAND UP! Do not deny!

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