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“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:15-16 NIV)
“You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” (John 18:17 NIV)
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” (John 21:15a NIV)
AS BELIEVING CHRISTIANS, who can name our date of salvation and proudly carry our Holy Bibles to worship and weekly Bible study, our hearts beat proudly to read the words of Peter, the impetuous apostle, to the Master’s question.
After Jesus asked His disciples who their families, friends, and neighbors thought He was, He drilled down to the essential question that He asks of all of us:
“Enough of this dancing around the issue,” He might have said. “In the end, it doesn’t really matter who these others think I am. The real issue is ‘Who do YOU think I am.’”
Yes, Peter jumps in with the God-inspired response: “You are the Messiah, the Christ of the living God, who was and is and is to come, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. All things were made through You and nothing was made except what was made by You to serve Your glory.”
While Peter didn’t make a speech, in essence, that’s what he was proclaiming.
We love to read his answer over and over because we know that is the correct answer—and in our hearts, it’s our answer, too.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE STORY doesn’t end there.
There’s a second answer that Peter gives, at a different time in a different place, when the circumstances were different.
It’s one of denial.
“Are you a believer?” the co-worker asked. “Are you a follower of Jesus Christ, the alphaand the omega, the beginning and the end?”
“Oh, no, not me!” Peter responded. “Whatever are you suggesting? Where would you have gotten that idea? No, I’m just like everyone else. I don’t believe in that nonsense. A bunch of religious kooks, if you ask me.”
Sometimes, we act like the first Peter, but too often we tend toward the second Peter.
Maybe our words aren’t so strongly stated, but maybe it’s because we don’t speak at all.
We remain strangely quiet when the circumstances require us to speak up; we blend into the crowd when the circumstances require us to step forward; we look to “discretion” when the circumstances require us to be bold.
WHICH PETER ARE YOU?
Truthfully, we probably are both Peters. Sometimes we do speak out our faith and we do so boldly without regard to the reactions of others. At other times, we’re not so sure we should speak out, and so we say nothing.
While being quiet could well be the correct posture at that moment, that moment soon passes, replaced by another moment, and in that second moment, our silence is denial of our Lord.
Fortunately, for believers, there is Peter’s third answer. When Jesus is resurrected, He corners Peter and asks him if he loves Him. Peter says he does. Two months later, when the Holy Spirit is given to him and the other disciples, Peter becomes a lion for the Lord.
After that, Peter never waivers, even unto the point of crucifixion. Legend says he demanded to be executed upside down, considering himself unworthy to be executed head up as the Master was.
GOD IN HIS MERCY gives us another chance … and another chance … and another chance.
With the Holy Spirit’s prodding, we slowly become more Christlike in our thoughts, actions, and words.
We will have moments of bold witness, and we will have moments when we fail to speak out when we should, but the Lord will give us more moments to share our faith.
Our prayers should be that over time, we’re more like the first Peter more often than the second Peter.
In the end, we should become the third Peter (see John 21:15-22).
“Yes, Lord, You know I love You.”
Then He will tell us what He told the third Peter:
“Follow Me. Feed my sheep.”
PRAYER: Our Father God, we know that we will let You down sometimes, even while we will step up boldly at other times. Help us grow in the Holy Spirit so that the bold times outnumber the timid times. Lead us to know when we should act, when we should speak, and when we should remain quiet and in the background. In the end, Lord, we should follow Your lead, not our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen
1. Are you a Christian who believes your actions speak of your love for God so that it is unnecessary for you to speak about your witness? Can you find biblical support for your position?
>What do you make of Peter and John in ACTS 4 who proclaimed they were “unable to stop speaking” about the Lord and what they had seen?
2. Do you ever feel you don’t have the “right words” to say or that you don’t know the Bible well enough to witness or that your faith is either too new or too shaky to be a good witness?
>What do make of Jesus’ words in LUKE 12 when He says the Holy Spirit will direct your speech?
3. Have you ever experienced an opportunity to witness — in deed or in word or both — and failed to “pray up” before you began, figuring you had the situation well in hand?
>What do you make of Jesus’ admonition in JOHN 15 when He says that without Him we can do nothing?
4. Can we at LoveAndGrace pray for you? Just send a prayer request via the Comments section.