Having covered the top ten teachings according to the frequency with which Christ taught (seen on page 133 of the download ‘What on earth have we done with the teachings of Jesus’). We are now continuing with Christ’s additional teachings. The next of these is ‘do not deny Him’.
What’s in the bag?
When I was newly converted thirty years ago, I remained with one foot in the world and one foot in Christ. I had a group of old friends and we would regularly meet in our own special corner of a pub in town. I remember once I had been to a women’s Aglow meeting at Champness Hall and afterwards pushed my Bible in my overstuffed bag and sauntered down to the pub to meet with these friends. When into a conversation, one of them asked what was in my bag. ‘Nothing’, I said.. piquing the curiosity of the others, they joined forces to press me to reveal what it was. I continued to repeat more loudly with each answer ‘Nothing’. It’s a moment that sometimes still haunts me, especially when I look at the following scripture.
For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38
Whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven – Matthew 10:33
Before the rooster crows tonight
The most famous denial in scripture is of Peter. As Peter was confessing that he would never stumble in his devotion to the Lord, Jesus said to him, ‘before the rooster crows tonight you will deny me three times’. Peter’s reply was ‘Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!’ We’ve heard the story. Peter did deny him and wept bitterly as a result. But in Christ’s mercy, following His resurrection He made a particular point in restoring Peter.
It is documented that following the ascension of Jesus, Peter was instrumental in the early church. He preached and healed the sick. Even his shadow was known to bring healing. It was Peter who received the vision at Joppa with the message to go and preach to the Gentiles. Up to then the message of the Gospel had been delivered to the Jews alone. One day as he was about to flee from persecution, he saw an apparition of Jesus with the message that he must stay and be crucified in order to see Jesus again in Heaven. Peter requested to be crucified upside-down because he did not believe that a man is worthy to be killed in the same manner as Christ. Maybe the anguish of his denial made him all the more eager for Jesus in later years. Do not deny Him.
There is a day coming
Henry says – ‘Whoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed’. Such is the generation of mankind which has gone a whoring from God. Embracing the world and the flesh. In such a generation the cause of Christ is opposed and run down.
There are many, who are ashamed of the cause of Christ, because of the reproach that attends the professing of it. They are ashamed of their relation to Christ. They cannot bear to be frowned upon and despised, and therefore throw off their profession, and go down the stream of a prevailing apostasy. There is a day coming, when the cause of Christ will appear as bright and illustrious as now it appears contemptible. When the Son of Man comes in the glory of his Father with his holy angels. Those that are not willing to share with him in His disgrace now, shall not share with him in his glory then.
He will own those who own Him now
He will shortly, in the day of triumph, own those who own Him now. First, It is our duty, and if we do it, it will hereafter be our unspeakable honour and happiness, to confess Christ before men. It is our duty to suffer for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving Him. It is here that the sincerity of our faith, is evidenced, His name glorified, and others edified. However this may expose us to reproach and trouble now, we shall be abundantly recompensed for that, in the resurrection of the just.
It will be our unspeakable honour and happiness to hear Christ say, ‘Him will I confess, though a poor worthless worm of the earth. This is one of mine, one of my friends and favourites, who loved Me and was beloved by Me. He was purchased of My blood, the workmanship of My Spirit. I will confess him before My Father. A good word for him I will speak, when he appears before my Father to receive his doom. I will present him, will represent him to my Father.’
Willing to part with all for him
The foundation of discipleship is laid in such a way to make sufferings very light and easy to the disciples. It was upon the condition of a preparedness for suffering, that Christ took them to be His followers, (Matt. 10:37-39 – He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.). He told them at first, that they were not worthy of Him, if they were not willing to part with all for him. They cannot expect the gains of a bargain, who will not come up to the terms of it.
If faith be worth anything, it is worth everything
Now the terms are settled – if faith be worth anything, it is worth everything. All who believe the truth of it, will soon come up to the price of it. They who make it their business and bliss, will make everything else to yield to it. They who like not Christ on these terms, may leave Him at their peril.
It is very encouraging to think, that whatever we leave, or lose, or suffer for Christ, we do not make a hard bargain for ourselves. Whatever we part with for this pearl of price, we may comfort ourselves with this persuasion, that it is well worth what we give for it. The terms are, that we must prefer Christ. Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
The example of Peter My child I will never fail you. Let your eager heart be still. Not dependent upon your perfection Only upon your accepting My Will. Your striving must be ever to walk in it. But, for your happiness, I give you Divine Assurance that though you may fail My hand is still there to bless. I cannot plead human frailty, So My promises must be fulfilled. Let the truth of this In your hearts be instilled. When I chose Peter I saw Beyond the failure and denial One who would do great things for Me; One who would radiate My smile. I chose him that others, frail and weak Might take courage and not fall. As they remembered My love and forgiveness and his subsequent spiritual progress That enabled him to conquer all. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer: Father, forgive me for every time I have denied Your Name or shirked from declaring You to others. Make me bold as a lion to make use of every opportunity to make Your Name known throughout the earth. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.