Today was my first morning back at men's Bible study which meets 6:30 am at JB's here in Kingman. What a great time I had with a couple of guys, and what a great reminder from scripture. The question I would like you to ask yourself as you are reading this is "How do I deny knowing Jesus?"
The passage of Scripture for today's study was Luke 22:54-62. Stop reading this right now, pick up your Bible (or go to youversion.com), read the passage and then come back.
If you read the passage you know that this is the story of Peter denying that he knows who Jesus is. I want to draw a paralleling picture here. Peter was the disciple who was known for being strong willed and exhibiting no lack of courage. He was the one who told Jesus that he would never leave him. He cut off someone's ear when the Jews came to get Jesus. One would think that Peter would have never committed such an act of denying knowing Jesus, but when he was not at Jesus' side, where we find him so often in the Scriptures, his courage failed him. Before he knew it he had denied knowing Jesus and this was after Jesus said that Peter would do so!! Peter got caught up in the moment and completely forgot what Jesus had foretold.
I think we can identify with Peter. How often do we deny knowing Christ? Now the first reaction might be "I've never done what Peter did!", but there are more ways to deny knowing Jesus then just vocalizing it. We can deny knowing Jesus when we don't act out of faith. We can deny Jesus when we are silent in the face of false belief. We can deny Jesus when we try to take care of things in our own power. There are several ways to deny knowing Jesus.
So some time needs to be spent on reflecting how we deny knowing Jesus, and some time needs to be spent on grieving when we deny knowing him. Even though we need to grieve we also need to understand that there is eventually restoration and always forgiveness. Peter was the one who Jesus said "Do you love me?" Peter needed the conversation he had with Jesus to understand that even though he did deny him he was still accepted and was being given a second change. Peter would later go on to proclaim Jesus in the face of opposition and he would count being beaten on Jesus' behalf a blessing and something to be joyful about.
How do we prevent from denying knowing Jesus? We stay close to him. Peter denied Jesus when he was the farthest from him. We draw strength from Jesus when we are in a close relationship with him. Daily Bible study, meditation on God's word and prayer keep us connected. God will give us strength to be bold and move in confidence when circumstances and situations tempt us to do otherwise.
By the way, this is what being a disciple of Jesus is about.