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Day 29 - A Tale of Two Denials

15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die. (John 18:15-32 ESV)

This passage tells two stories. Peter follows Jesus after his arrest, while the high priest's father-in-law, Annas, secretly questions Jesus to discredit him as a threat and silence his followers.


The story ends with Annas finding no evidence that he could use to incriminate Jesus as anything other than who he said he was. And with Peter, denying Jesus three times.

The juxtaposition with Peter’s denials and the denial of the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ Godhood is a hard lesson for us in the 21st century.


Will we deny our faith?


In difficult times, will we be like Peter, scared to speak up for our beliefs? Or will we be like Annas, questioning our faith when it's inconvenient?


I know it’s easy to say that we won’t in theory, but our actions often speak louder than our words. If we have to be completely honest, our actions probably indicate a movement to create distance between ourselves and our faith when things get tough. Our actions may even portray us as looking for excuses to let go of our beliefs in our life circumstances.


Let's pray for the strength to hold onto our faith through words and actions. May we find reasons to keep believing, even when faced with challenges that tempt us to deny our God.

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