I Am Not
07 November 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 18:15-18 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, as did another of the disciples. That other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus. 16 Peter had to stay outside the gate. Then the disciple who knew the high priest spoke to the woman watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. 17 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.” 18 Because it was cold, the household servants and the guards had made a charcoal fire. They stood around it, warming themselves, and Peter stood with them, warming himself. (John 18:15-18 NLT)
We’re pretty sure that all through this narrative, when John speaks of “that other disciple” or “the disciple Jesus loved” he is speaking of himself. Humility is likely the reason he didn’t refer to himself in the first person, and this helps us because it puts John at the scene as an eyewitness of the events he is describing. It raises some questions for me, not least being “how did a fisherman from Galilee become an acquaintance of the high priest?” When I get to heaven I’ll get an appointment with him and ask him about it! It’s not the only question I plan to ask when I get there!
The reason I’m focusing on this incident is to explore a contrast. When Jesus, was confronted in the garden by the soldiers and mob who had come to arrest him, he stepped forward and boldly declared, “I Am He!” Peter, when asked by a servant woman in the courtyard of Annas’ residence, “Aren’t you one of Jesus’ disciples?” denied it and said, “No! I am not!” Jesus was thinking of the safety of his followers and told the soldiers, “I’m the one you want. Let these others go!” Peter was thinking only of himself at the time and lied about his relationship with Jesus. What a contrast between Jesus’ bold “I Am He” and Peter’s fearful reply “No! I Am Not!”
Friends, the last thing I want to do here is put some kind of guilt-trip or unhealthy self-condemnation on us. But I do want us to do a heart-check by asking ourselves a couple of questions: 1) When I’m under pressure, do I back away from what I believe and profess, or am I willing to stand firm in faith? 2) When I’m in a situation where my faith might cost me some discomfort or embarrassment, do I speak my convictions or do I look for an easy way out? How about you?
Father, Thank you for the simple honesty of the Gospel Story. I’m thankful for Jesus’ boldness and for Peter’s weakness, because both help me keep going! Amen!