John 18:6 When Jesus[b] said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
John 18:17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”
The dichotomy of the two answers that Jesus and Peter gave, “I am he” and “I am not” is very interesting. It is only one word that is different in the answers but it is 180 degrees different in the responses. Jesus was confirming not only who they were looking for but also who he was. Peter, on the other hand, was denying who he was and that he even knew of Jesus’ existence. Jesus was affirming he was the truth, Peter was trying to distance himself from the truth. Jesus, by his answer, started the process by which he saved the world, Peter was just trying to save himself. Jesus knew that events had to take place to fulfill God’s will. These events were necessary to glorify God. Peter was only looking out for himself. Jesus knew that his short term pain would lead to long term gain. Peter was looking for short term avoidance in the hopes that he would survive long term. We often think we would be more like Jesus and less like Peter. We would or will stand up to events that are taking place and we would stand true to His word. We would never think that we would ever deny Jesus. We may even question how Peter could do such a thing. And not just once but three times. We are confident that we would stand firm in the reality of what is occurring and be bold in our faith.
The truth is we are all probably more like Peter than we care to admit. I am more like Peter than I care to admit. I am bold in front of Jesus when it is easy to be bold but when the pressure of the world, the pressure of the situation is upon me, how often do I fold and not honor Jesus? I don’t stand for Him or with Him, I often stand for me. I don’t stand for what is best for Him, I stand for what is best for me. I don’t care about the long term, I only think of the short term. When we do this, we deny Jesus. That is why there are people that act one way on Sunday at church and another way the rest of the week. They are denying Jesus. We may not be denying Jesus in the same fashion as Peter but if our actions don’t match our “Sunday words” we deny Him just the same. We are saying to those around us “I am not his disciple”. When I am with Him, I act like Him but when I am not with Him, I am just like the world.
Father I admit that I don’t always act the way I want. I deny you at times when it is seemingly convenient for me. Forgive me for not standing true to your word at all times. Give me the daily strength to live for you, to love for you and to stand for you.