Focal Passages: John 18:15-18, 25b-27; 21:15-19; Acts 4:13, 18-20
Imagine that you were mute and knew no form of sign language or handwriting. You could only communicate through demonstration, by showing people what you meant. Many people think they’ve never denied Christ because their words said otherwise, but what have they demonstrated?
Christians sometimes condemn Peter because of his verbal denials of Christ. While Jesus did not take these denials lightly and sent him through a difficult interrogation to reinstate him (John 21:15-19), Peter’s actions ultimately defined his words. He could have said “I love you” to Jesus in an attempt to gain His approval, but Jesus reminded Peter that love for Him is demonstrated by comparison. He asked him, “Do you love me more than these?” We don’t know whether “these” referred to the other apostles, the fishing equipment, or the other apostles’ love for Jesus, but Peter knew and had to declare his true affection for his Lord. While we love others, our love for Him should be so overwhelming that it makes our other loves seem like hate by comparison (Luke 14:26).
Peter demonstrated that he loved Jesus through a bold apostleship that caused spectators to marvel at his ability to boldly speak as an uneducated man. He ignored threats against preaching the gospel, helped lead the way in the spread of Christianity, wrote two epistles, and ultimately laid down his life as a martyr. Peter’s life was nothing less than the fulfillment of Jesus’ words concerning the demonstration of his love for Christ: “When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” After prophesying of Peter’s coming death, He simply said, “Follow me.” Have you said the right things, but denied Christ through your actions? We all have at some time. Thankfully, God is gracious and restores repentant followers. We may not die as martyrs but we will not serve Christ faithfully until we die to self and make following Jesus a practice, not just a theory. You may be ashamed of where you’ve been, but you can’t imagine where God could take you! Are you ready to go from failure to action?