Daily Devotional

Disowning Jesus

by Simon Whitton

"Whoever acknowledges me before men,
I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.
Matthew 10:32-33 (NIV)

For the three years of Jesus' ministry, Peter was in a privileged position. Jesus was powerful, famous and sought after, and Peter had constant access and a close relationship with Him. But then Jesus was arrested.

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
Luke 22:54 (NIV)

In the company of believers, being close to Jesus is good for our image; but in many public circles, an association with Him can have negative repercussions. We may be followers of Christ, but do we sometimes try and follow Him at a distance? We have a relationship with Him, but perhaps there's not enough of a commitment that we want to be associated with Him if it may cost us. When directly confronted, Peter denied His relationship with the Lord.

58 A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.
Luke 22:58 (NIV)

Are we willing to be associated with Jesus publicly, even if it means being labeled "one of them"? Are we more afraid of losing face with people than losing face with God? After Peter denied Jesus three times:

61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times."
62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:61-62 (NIV)

Perhaps we are afraid that if we are associated with Him, we will be treated like Him?

63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.
64 They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?"
65 And they said many other insulting things to him.
Luke 22:63-65 (NIV)

We may not be beaten for being 'one of them', but we may well be mocked and insulted. To share in Christ's suffering in even this small way is a greater privilege than only knowing Him. He will still turn to look straight at you, but in brotherhood.

13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.
16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
1 Peter 4:13-16 (NIV)

The enemy comes to each of us to tempt us, and it may appear to be a private situation, but you must decide at that time whether you belong to Christ.  The Lord and the enemy are right there watching for your answer.  Will you deny that you are with Jesus, or speak boldly of your allegiance and perhaps suffer for it?  There is suffering in everyone's future, but let our suffering be because of our relationship with Christ, and not because we got caught in some sin.

Let's not follow the Lord at a distance, but instead find the courage to be associated with Christ in every circumstance, whether in public or in private. When we realize that we have disowned Jesus, let's have the decency to weep bitterly before God in repentance.  Then know that Christ's face is toward you, not in condemnation, but in love and concern, and to let you know that He has not disowned you.

Spend some time in prayer...

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