The Worst Thing You Can Do

What is the worst thing that you could ever do?  There are all sorts of answers that could be given to that question, but can you think of anything worse than denying Jesus?  How about denying Him in His very presence?  There’s probably not anything worse than that, especially when you do that just hours after you “vehemently” stated, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” (Mark 14:31).  What could lead someone to do such a horrible and regrettable thing?  Look at the passage in Luke 22:54-62.

First, Peter separated himself from Jesus.  He was right there with Jesus in the verses leading up to this.  He was found even drawing his sword and striking the servant of the high priest in order to protect Jesus.  But now, all of a sudden, the text states, “But Peter followed at a distance” (22:54).  I’ve seen teenagers do this with their parents—keeping their distance…not wanting to be seen together in public…not wanting folks to mistakenly think that “I’m with them.”   The moment that we start to distance ourselves from Jesus—even just a little bit—we have opened up “a place” in our lives “to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27).  We must never be ashamed to walk closely with our Lord (2 Timothy 1:12).  Oh, how we need to be near Him every hour.

Second, Peter sat among the enemies of God.  When Christ’s enemies “had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them” (22:55).  The verb tense for “sitting” in verses 55-56 indicates a perpetual activity.  The psalmist had warned about the danger of such a practice: “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Psalm 1:1).  Sitting down shows acceptance, ease and approval (Romans 1:32Ephesians 5:11-141 Corinthians 15:33).  We must refuse to willfully associate with those who are not for Christ (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Third, Peter stayed in that compromising situation.  Peter’s first denial of Christ was harsh, “Woman, I do not know Him” (22:57).   That confrontation should have shaken him up.  It should have caused him to reevaluate where he was and what he was doing.  Instead, he stayed “a little while” longer (22:58).  This led him to deny Christ a second time, “Man, I am not!”.   Surely, after hearing those words from his mouth in response to a second person, now he will come to himself and leave.  Right?  Look at how verse 59 begins: “Then after about an hour had passed.”   This was not a quick episode.  Peter may have been there for more than two hours, which led him to deny Jesus a third time, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” It was finally the rooster crowing and the look of the Lord that woke him up (22:60-62).   May God help us to not linger around evil, lest we end up doing evil ourselves!  Do not find yourself doing the worst thing you can do.


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