Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You
aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” John 18:2
In the prior two devotionals, we extolled the Apostle Peter for professing that Jesus was
“the Messiah, the Son of the living God” and for putting action to his words by attempting
(though ill-conceived) to defend Jesus against the arresting authorities. Peter’s speech and
conduct demonstrated allegiance to our Lord. Given the positive assessment thus far, our
desire to resemble the Apostle Peter should be high.
Not so fast… Consider Peter’s behaviors in light of the Christian Lawyer Directory’s stated
purpose to “Provide a platform for lawyers to declare their faith and Savior in the public
domain” and to be a helpful aid for lawyers who are “willing to honor God by publicly
pledging allegiance to His Son.”
We are familiar with the sad story. Jesus is arrested and all of His followers, except Peter
and John, flee to safety. Peter lingers in the periphery of history’s most unjust trial, still
feeling a duty to defend his beloved Master. So far, so good of Peter. Standing near a fire,
he feels uncomfortable heat – not of the thermal variety. His own security is threatened,
and he instinctively shifts to defending himself. Thrice Peter is identified as a follower of
Jesus and thrice he denies such. One gospel writer even attributes what was essentially
profanity to Peter’s denials. (See Mark 14:70-71). The rooster crows. Shame is felt. Peter
slinks away in solitude.
What changed for Peter was his physical context. Notice the safe locales in the first two
episodes examined by these devotionals. When Peter professed Jesus as Messiah, when he
refused to leave after challenging teachings, and when he struck the high priest’s servant,
Peter was with Jesus in a relatively private setting.
Put Peter alone in the public square and his stance was anything but allegiant.
Sadly, most of us greatly resemble the Apostle in this manner. We are bold and unequivocal
in our profession of Jesus as Lord on Sunday mornings while at our church campus. But
what about at our office on Monday mornings, or encountering neighbors while walking
our block on Tuesday night, or at the [insert…gym, grocery store, coffee shop, social media
sites, etc.] any other time? How ready are we to embrace and profess our Savior in those
public settings? How do we answer the question posed to Peter (above)? Does our public
life even trigger such questions?
Yes, I look a lot like Peter in this regard. I suspect that I am not alone. Lest we be tempted
to follow Peter’s example and slink away in solitude, keep reading. The final installment of
this devotional series should encourage and equip us to right the ship, as did the Apostle.