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Judas betrays Jesus. Peter and the others deny they know Jesus. Nobody is with Jesus at the end.

I am not either. I would have been no different. I must ask would it have been by betrayal or denial. Master Jesus the Messiah, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.”

Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.

Source: Matthew 26:31-35

There are all kinds of roles being played out here in the death and cruel execution of our Master Jesus.

  • Betrayal
  • Denial
  • Arrestor
  • Judge
  • Jury
  • Executioner
  • Witnesses

What role would I have played? I love to celebrate the resurrection. I don’t like to think about what role I would have played in the execution.

Regardless, I must reflect. I think it would have been the role of “the denier” or “the disowner”. The Greek word here is ἀπαρνέομαι aparnĕŏmai, ap-ar-neh´-om-ahee; meaning to deny utterly, i.e. disown. It tells of someone who actively disowns a loved one.

And here is a clear warning for me!

He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

John 12:48 (NASB)

And just to be clear, here are some more.

  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Peter 2:1 (NASB)
  • Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Messiah? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:22–23 (NASB)
  • For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus the Messiah as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 2 John 7 (NASB)
  • For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus the Messiah. Jude 4 (NASB)

It doesn’t stop there though. I go from being warned to knowing I have no place to take refuge. Denial is an equal opportunity problem. How often, if nothing else by silence, have I denied Jesus? Way too frequently! I know it and you know it.

  • If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 2 Timothy 2:12 (NASB)
  • “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32 (NASB)
  • “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38 (NASB)

I am compelled to confess my missing God’s goal (aka sin). I am a sinner!

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

1 John 1:8-10

Jesus is good and there is good news. Jesus, after His resurrection into an incorruptible body, gave Peter 3 opportunities to affirm Him. Jesus, in kindness and love, reinstates Peter. Jesus does the same for me. God is in a good mood. Jesus has paid the price for my obstinacy, denial and rebellion.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Master [Lord], you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, Follow me!

John 21:15-19