April 26, 2021
John 18: 15-18
Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.
Back when I put on a tie every day and worked in an office, I had an experience similar to Peter’s. In my office, there was a clear line between bosses and employees. One Friday, the three bosses were out of town. Someone had the brilliant idea that the rest of us could leave after lunch, and just adjust the timeclock to make it look like we punched out at 5. It manually punched our timecards, so it would be easy to turn it forward to 5, punch out, and then turn it back. I was known to be a Christian, and one of the other employees turned to me and said, “You aren’t going to rat us out, are you?”
The question, like the servant girl’s, was clear. “Are you one of us, or are you one of them?”
Now, it’s unlikely that you and I will face stakes as high as Peter did. To align himself with Jesus was literally putting his life on the line at that point. But, we do have opportunities on a regular basis to align ourselves publicly with faith or not. I once stopped to change a woman’s tire in the snow. As she thanked me, I had the chance to either say I stopped because that’s what Jesus would want me to do, or because I was a really nice guy. If you’ve ever been passed a joint at a party, been offered a small bribe as a restaurant host, or gotten incorrect change, you’ve had a similar choice. It’s easy to give any other reason for your choices. Smoking is bad for your health. It’s against policy. In moments of kindness or morality, it can be very difficult to acknowledge that our reason for doing the right thing is our faith. Just like Peter didn’t want to acknowledge his reason for being in the courtyard that night. Ironically, our closeness with Jesus both drives a huge number of our daily decisions, and is often the one thing we don’t want to put out publicly.
Our internal reasons, though the stakes are considerably smaller, are probably similar to Peter’s. We don’t know the consequences of associating with Jesus in the moment. Will we be ridiculed? Mocked? Will we be scorned or will the other person lash out? Will we be considered unprofessional or stupid? The uncertainty can make it easier to keep our faith under wraps.
If any of those thoughts ring true for you, look for opportunities to acknowledge your friendship with Jesus as the reason for your actions. I’m not asking you to put yourself in danger or preach on a street corner. Simply look for ways your faith motivates your behavior. If someone asks, be willing to share honestly and vulnerably. Call to mind these verses, written by the very man who denied Jesus that night.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. I Peter 3:15