If I Have to Die
34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.
There is such a big difference between speaking and doing. When Jesus, very bluntly, proclaims that Peter will betray him three times we see a classic Peter reaction. He strongly disagrees, even proclaiming that he’d rather die than betray him.
Of course we all know the story. Even when just a few servants ask about his connection to Jesus, Peter shy’s away from his own words. Of course Peter isn’t alone in this. The text makes it very clear that all the disciples agree with Peter and also pledge their undying allegiance- right before running away in all directions.
That is why we must always resist judging others and their actions. I knew of a conference president from Eastern Europe who would fire any and all pastors under him who would get a divorce while employed. You can imagine the shock when he asked to be transferred to become a regular pastor in a small town in the USA only so he himself could divorce his wife and escape the consequence that he would have to do to himself. He thought himself superior in morality to the pastors below him until he himself was in their situation.
The truth is that we don’t know exactly what we would do in a situation that is only theory to us. If someone held a gun to our heads, would we be able to stand faithful to Christ or would we deny him? If we had to choose between our loved ones and salvation, could we still choose God? If tempted in the same degree as a brother who sinned, would we come out faithful or would we too fall into the same sin?
All the disciples thought they were faithful and courageous. All failed.
So what is the remedy? What is the thing that they were missing to keep them from failing?
The Holy Spirit. When they received the power and connection to God through the Holy Spirit, it changed their characters. The same Peter who denied Christ later would encourage being crucified upside down. John who kept his distance when Jesus was arrested, would be boiled in oil and imprisoned on an island for his master. All the apostles would die because of the name of Jesus. All the apostles could stand tall because God was with them in their hearts. The Holy Spirit was their strength and hope.
If we are to stand in the same way, we must carry the Holy Spirit as well.
Pr. Steven Couto