By Robert Halsey Pine
“And he said to him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death!’” (Luke 22:31-38 NRSV).
We are just like Peter was in his situation with Christ when the end was near. We are sometimes reluctant to let people know that Christ is in our life. After hearing Peter make his statement of commitment, Jesus told him that he would deny knowing Jesus three times before the cock crowed. How many times have you missed an opportunity to witness your life in Christ to another? You might say, “Well, this is just not the right time” or “I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.” Or maybe even, “They’ll think I’m a religious fanatic.”
Peter claimed that day that he would go to prison or death with Jesus. What happened to him during the next several hours? Peter gave in to the devil. He let what he thought people might think rather than his heart rule him. There is so much pressure on us to fit in. The people we are with can influence how we think, act and respond. It’s sort of like my friend Wilson said in my reunion group one day: “Not having faith is like bragging about your friend the pilot, but being afraid to fly with him.” Peter’s faith failed him. Our faith fails us when we praise God, but won’t fly with him.
He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.” (Luke 22:35 NRSV). It is easy for me to give in to the material, or that which gives me worldly status. So many of my life decisions are based on what I think I need, or in my pride. Oh, if I could only be more like Christ. If I could be alright going, “without a purse, bag, or sandals,” would I lack anything?
Being a part-time Christian means having a part-time relationship with God. But what happens if we need Him or He needs us while we’re “off duty?” Like Peter, we have another chance. The Peter who denied Christ three times became the leader and “rock” for Jesus after the day of Pentecost. He did go to death with Jesus and earned a place unmatched in Christendom. Am I rea-dy for a turn-around like Peter’s?
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.