John 18:12-18, 25-27 When the Night is Darkest, a Star shines Brightest
So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father- in- law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. Then the slave- girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself… Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed. John 18:12-18, 25-27
This episode focuses on Peter, supposedly the brightest of his disciples. His confident demeanor was put to the test when he is torn between loyalty and self-preservation. This is a worthy lesson for us all as courage comes naturally when things are going well. But true faith and courage find their glory in the darkest of times.
1. Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Peter follows Jesus from a safe distance and he denies involvement with Jesus when confronted by others. Peter is the only disciple who stands up to the Romans in a bid to protect Jesus from His enemies. But he is also the only one who denies of being Jesus’ disciple. Peter remains bold until Jesus commands Peter to withdraw his sword signalling that He will not resist arrest. Up until then, Peter is still thinking of a supernatural Moses’ style uprising against Roman rule towards a free Israel. Concerning the other disciple who was with Peter, there was no record of him denying his involvement with Jesus. But he is seen to be savvy among the officials as well as the high priest.
2. Peter is asked three times if he is a disciple of Jesus. First, by the slave girl at the door. Second, by the officers. Third, by the relative of one whose ear Peter cut off. The rooster crows immediately upon Peter’s third denial. The rooster’s call triggers the question within Peter: how much do I love Jesus? The test of loyalty exposes Peter’s true nature and causes him to come to terms with his own darkness.
1. Confession of one’s allegiance is fundamental to love and loyalty. Would one deny his relationship with his loved ones? Any reputable man will not deny that he is a husband to his wife or a father to his child. It is unthinkable to deny the One who gives His life as a sacrifice for my eternal life. Peter betrays Christ in an attempt to preserve his own life. Our confession as Christians today should be marked by our commitment to live out Christ’s value system and vision. Our separation from the things of darkness, the love of money, the lust of the flesh, and our readiness to give our time and finances attest to our confession as Christ’s disciples.
2. The true mark of a disciple is his willingness to suffer along with Christ to build the Kingdom. Peter acts boldly in front of the crowd, but when Jesus does not refuse arrest, Peter caves in. His self-centeredness and cowardice surfaces when it became apparent that dangers would befall those who are closely connected with Jesus. Many Christians today celebrate the finished work of the cross and the glory that awaits them. But they will not live a life that Christ lives, thinking that Christ has already made the sacrifice and no more sacrifices is required of them. Peter follows Jesus in hopes of a glorious life in the Kingdom, but not in the way he envisions. The route to Christ’s glory is paved with hard work and sacrifices.
3. Courage in triumphalism or helplessness? Triumphalism is an attitude or belief that a particular culture, religion or sect is superior and should triumph over other cultures. Peter’s courage arose out of triumphalism thinking that Jesus will trump their enemies with power and might. True strength and faith is likened to a star: when darkness is at its darkest, a star shines the brightest. The strength of a person’s faith is tested when he cannot see a way forward and yet he finds strength to do what is right.
1. Confess Christ as your Lord by being generous in lending a helping hand to strangers and acquaintances. There are those who needed help: an older person on the street who needed a helping hand; a newbie at the workplace who needed someone to show him around; a colleague who needed a listening ear. We confess Christ when we help those who are not in a position to repay us.
2. Activate the quiet strength of God daily through praise. The best time to display your courage and your light is when things are pointing downhill. Your help comes not from resources that you could see, but from the faithful promises of God. Praise opens our eyes to see and believe God’s promises and to uncover opportunities in the midst of famine.
Dear Lord, let Your face shine upon me and give me peace and assurance of a brighter future. I reject the spirit that depresses me and causes me to think negatively. I receive the Spirit of faith for assurance towards victory. Use me as an instrument to bring light and hope to my workplace and my family. I praise You because You are not dead, but alive and actively working in my life towards victory and glory.
I confess that You have ordained my life for a glorious purpose.
I confess that every difficulty in my life is a spring board towards a greater height and I will not despair for You are with me.
I confess that I am placed in my organization not just as an employee but an instrument to bring to it the blessings and the truth of God.
I confess that I am a son of God and I have within me all that I need to prosper and to succeed in all that I desire.
I confess Christ as my Lord and King, and I will do what He commands me to do.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.