Focal passage: Matthew 26:63-75
Following Jesus demands loyalty in the face of risk. As we see in our focal passage (Matthew 26:63-75) the early disciples, specifically Peter, had to learn that lesson the hard way. Jesus had been falsely accused of blasphemy and would ultimately be crucified. Peter thought he would be strong for Jesus when danger came, but as scripture teaches his loyalty faded when the risk became too great (Matthew 26:69-75).
How would you respond if you knew following Jesus meant certain death?
In 1945, pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken to a German concentration camp after preaching the gospel where he was eventually tried and hung for treason just days before the prison camp was liberated by the Allied Forces.
Years later a doctor at the camp described Bonhoeffer’s final moments. He wrote: “Through the half-open door in one of the huts I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison clothes, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In the almost  years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so submissive to the will of God.”
Thankfully, Peter’s story did not end with his denial. Jesus would restore Peter after the resurrection, and like Bonhoeffer, Peter would ultimately become a martyr for Christ.
Are you willing to give your life for Christ?
In many ways we have been sheltered in America from the threat of death or severe persecution for believing in Jesus, but just as Peter and Bonhoeffer experienced in their lives things can change very quickly.
Will you be ready to remain loyal regardless of the cost?