April 10, 2009
“Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, ‘Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.’ But he denied before them all, saying, ‘I know not what thou sayest.’ And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, ‘This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.’ And again he denied with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’ And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, ‘Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, ‘I know not the man.’ And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”
Matthew 26: 69-75, King James Version
“Betrayed By the Company He Kept”
“If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
David Otis Fuller
If some didn’t know anything about me and found out I was a Christian, what would they think about the “Christ” I claimed to represent?
“If a man or woman cannot be a Christian in the place where (they) are, (they) cannot be a Christian anywhere.”
Henry Ward Beecher
“If Christ lives in us, controlling our personalities, we will leave glorious marks on the lives we touch. Not because of our lovely characters, but because of His.”
Not long ago, a friend of my Dad’s, who I hadn’t seen for a long time, came to visit and as we were talking he said, “Sometimes if I close my eyes, just the way you speak and phrase things reminds me so much of your Dad I can’t believe it.”
It’s truly surprising to me that years after my Dad’s death, the things he said and the way he said them are still so deeply engrained in me that others who knew him are quick to recognize the connection.
This is exactly what we find happening in the high priest’s palace, when Peter chose to watch the proceedings from afar. Matthew 26: 58 shares with us a very sorrowful account of the evening after Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Obviously, unable to run away yet afraid to get too close, Jesus’ disciple, Peter, chose to “follow at a distance.” Peter wanted to be close enough to know what was going on, but not too close to get caught up in the fray himself. And so, he thought that by “mingling with the servants” he could blend in with the crowd and somehow escape notice by the critical eyes of those who had chosen to attack the Son of God as a false prophet – and a fraud.
However, in Matthew 26: 73, we find these defining words, spoken by the folk Peter chose to associate with: “Thy speech bewrayeth thee.” The archaic word “bewray” is an interesting word for it means to “unintentionally disclose” information.
Here was Peter, trying as hard as he could to fit in, to hobnob, to socialize, in a place where he could masquerade around as someone he wasn’t. At that moment in his life, Peter wanted to wear the camouflage of one who wanted nothing more than to be “one of the crowd.”
But unbeknown to him, during the three-and-a half years of his life that he had spent with Jesus – he had changed – unintentionally. Time with Jesus had so transformed him that his speech “bewrayed” him. He couldn’t hide who he was, for his life had been infused by the presence of the “One” he followed everyday. He was betrayed by the company he kept.
It’s so easy during this time of year to focus on the main events that are associated with Easter activities. There’s the Lord’s Supper, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection.
However, the details that weave these events together, if passed over quickly and without notice, leave you and me with an incomplete picture of the impact the life and teachings of Jesus Christ had on those individuals who made a personal choice to attach themselves to Him.
It’s easy to stand back and look at Peter’s denial of Jesus. Three times he denied Christ when Jesus needed his support most. But let us not forget, that by choosing to follow Jesus when called, and stick by Jesus’ side everyday for three-and-a-half years, something inside Peter changed so much that even the despair of denial, the discouragement of failure and the humiliation of disappointment in himself could not drive a wedge between Peter and his “Master.”
Peter’s story is so much like yours and mine. How we long to be strong. We don’t want to stumble during times of distress. We long to be bold when others deny Jesus. We’re certain we’ll be fearless when others faint. Yet in our own strength, we find only weakness. And when calamity lands upon us and we are called upon, we try to mix and mingle with those who we hope won’t recognize us for the weak characters we really are.
How thankful you and I can be that, if like Peter, we choose to walk with Jesus day by day, that the beauty of His life will so infuse ours that His gracious compassion and gentle love will radiate from us and that those we meet will say, even in our weakest moments, “Her life bewrays the company she keeps.”
“My heart is full of Christ,
Its glorious matter to declare!
Of Him I make my loftier songs,
I cannot from His praise forbear:
My ready tongue makes haste to sing
The glories of my heavenly King.”
forgive us for failing You,
as even the disciples did.
we betray You;
we run away from You;
we deny You,
not wanting people to know that
we are Your followers.
Have mercy on us,
as You had mercy on Peter
and the others,
and when the cock crows in
our hearts and we realize
what we have done,
help us to bear Your gaze of love.”
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available May 2009
P.S. Thank you for coming to Transformation Garden. For the next eight days, we are taking a break from our studies about all the women in the Bible to focus on the greatest gift every given to humans, the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. I hope you pass along this free gift to your friends and family. Why not invite someone you care about to join you in the garden this week –www.transformationgarden.com
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.