by Barry Newton
Rightfully so, we denounce Judas for betraying Jesus. How could Judas be so callously crass, so profane, so small-minded as to place a financial value on his allegiance to Jesus?
Judas, however, was not the only one.
During the cool early morning hours in the high priest’s courtyard when it became clear that Jesus was in serious trouble, Peter was willing to emphatically proclaim, “I know not the man!” (Matthew 26:72,74)
Why did he do this? Presumably, to safe guard his own skin and ensure his own comfort.
Do we find it easier to denounce Judas’ actions than Peter’s? Both men, at least in one instance, valued something more than their allegiance to Christ. If we find it a little harder to criticize Peter, perhaps this is because we too feel the tug of placing value upon how people treat us.
So, what about us? Do we value anything more than our allegiance to Christ? If faced with a situation where either we could preserve a comfortable status quo or we could obey Christ and stand up for him, would we sell out Jesus?
Jesus made it clear. To be a disciple involves the way of the cross, that is, to die to self-interests in order to live for him because we place him above all other competing values in our lives (Matthew 10:37-39; 16:24-26). Given our fears and desires to be accepted, this can be a hard message to hear.
Good news! Peter was not cast off because of this one-time failure. Upon hearing that Jesus was risen, Peter joined the remaining ten apostles and traveled to Galilee where Jesus commissioned them to go and make disciples of all nations.
The following chapters of Peter’s life reveals an apostle proclaim Christ even to hostile adversaries. Peter learned to live the way of the cross. We can too!
Let’s determine that if we have stumbled by valuing something more than Christ, that we will also be like Peter. We too will stand back up and press forward to serve our Lord.