Luke 22:55-57 – When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him." But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. (NIV)
The phrase, "I don't know Him", hits me over the head as I read. Have I ever denied Jesus? On reflection, I must admit that I have, maybe unintentionally, but, yes, I have denied Jesus.
There are many ways to deny knowing Jesus. When did we last say, "I believe in Jesus and He controls all I do and say"? Never having openly acknowledged being a Christian is one such denial, even though a non-verbal one. The simple snub will also do it — for example, being too busy to care, or simply skipping attending worship. Perhaps we were brought up with that old phrase, "Don't wear your religion on your sleeve; Christianity is a private matter." So we are silent.
Being retired, I rarely preach anymore, but when I do, I wear my clergy collar. Afterwards, while eating lunch in a restaurant, that collar stands out, and I get that look. Have you experienced that look? It marks one as different! So, what do I do when not wanting to be perceived as different? I take my collar off! Sorry, Jesus, I don't mean to snub You. Like Peter, I don't want to stand out. Why is it so hard to call attention to oneself as a follower of Jesus? What if Jesus walked by, looked sadly at me, then ignored me?
Imagine sitting in an airplane reading the Bible. Someone stops and asks, "Do you believe in Jesus?" You say, "Yes, I do." Then a wonderful conversation ensues. Jesus comes, as His Spirit enters the sharing. It's wonderful. Openly acknowledging Jesus in my life makes all the difference in the way I relate to the stranger, the lonely, the sick, the dying, the poor, the neighbour, the co-worker, the friend, the son and daughter. Yes, Jesus, I do know You, and it's wonderful to be able to acknowledge Your presence.
Prayer: Open our eyes, Lord, to the many ways we can effectively acknowledge knowing You. Take from our minds and hearts the fear of a putdown, of criticism, of being laughed at as different. May we be honest in acknowledging our part in this relationship. You and I, O Lord, know each other. Wow! That's wonderful! May we be able to share Your love today with that special person who has been on our mind. May speaking about You with others become the natural thing to do. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.