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Three Denials

Three Denials

Words of Faith 2-1-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 22:54-62

    Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. [55] But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. [56] A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."

    [57] But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

    [58] A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them."

    "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.

    [59] About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."

    [60] Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. [61] The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." [62] And he went outside and wept bitterly.



          The first denial was casual.  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.  There was not much at stake here.  There was no great danger.  This might have even been an opportunity to witness. But Peter pretended not to know Jesus. 

         This is a denial that we may be familiar with.  Either by our words or deeds, we pretend that we do not know Jesus.  We attempt to blend in with our culture and the people around the fire.  It might happen in a work setting or at the soccer field or in a social gathering. The actions may be subtle.  It may be when a conversation turns to matters of morality or faith.  It is so much easier to warm ourselves by the fires of the world. 

        Later in life, Peter wrote-- "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15).  Perhaps this advice from Peter came out of His reflection upon that night when he was not prepared, the question was asked, and he did not know what to say.

       The second denial came a little later when someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.   It was a denial of discipleship.  "I am NOT a Disciple"-- not one of them.  This second denial was stronger.  There was a clear identification of Peter as a disciple.  "You are one of them."  

       So there was recognition of Peter as a disciple, and he rejected that identification.  If we warm ourselves by the fires of the world long enough, we will be found out. There are things about a follower of Jesus that cannot be hidden.  One can only blend in so long.  The question is when you are confronted by that identity, will you reject it. 

       The third denial came about an hour later when another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."  Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!"  This was a complete claim of ignorance concerning Jesus.  This final denial was the most emphatic-- I don't know Him.  I don't know what you are talking about. 

        The Gospels of Matthew and Mark tell us that Peter actually called down curses on himself.  It was probably something like, "I'll be cursed if I know Him or anything about Him..."  He even took on the language of the world and gathering around the fire to make sure that he did not identify with Jesus. 

        We do not have to actually verbally to deny Christ to deny Him.  We are sometimes tempted to take on the language of the world in an attempt to fit in.  When we do so, we deny our identity as a disciple.  We also sometimes take on the activities of the world to fit in, and in doing so, we deny that we know Him.

        Just as Peter was speaking this last denial, the rooster crowed.  Tomorrow we will consider the restoration of Peter.  For today it is useful for us to recognize the journey of denial.  Peter never imagined that those words could actually come out of His mouth, but they did.  It begins when we follow from a distance.  It deepens when we warm ourselves at the fires of the world.  It intensifies when we try to blend in casually.  Then we try not to identify as a disciple.  Finally, words or actions come forth that we thought were impossible, and we are grieved. 


        Lord Jesus, help me to recognize the possibility of denial in my own life.  Teach me how to turn back toward You before I go down that road.  Reveal to me the path that is always close to You.  In Jesus' name.


© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2007, 2018

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.