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Why Would I Deny Jesus?

Updated: May 25, 2020

By bro Lee Tian Seng

When I was a young Christian, I found it daunting to tell my friends, colleagues and relatives that I was a Christian. A reason was that I had the fear of people mocking or criticising me for my belief. Or, was it the fear due to my inability to explain to others why I believe in Jesus? I guess you may have similar experiences or inadequacies as well. As we grow stronger in faith, we will be more comfortable about confessing our faith. However, there are times we are not confessing Jesus in not telling people about our faith and sharing the Gospel. Jesus wants us to confess Him, not deny Him.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

The reward of confessing Jesus is that He will confess us before His Father and not deny us. If we were to deny Him, He would say to us in the Day of Judgment, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23).

The subject of denying Jesus reminds me of what the Apostle Peter did. When Jesus foretold that he would deny Him, he said he would not (Matthew 26:30-35). Let us see what we can learn from the Apostle Peter.

Over-confidence Peter declared that he would not betray Jesus and was even willing to go to prison and die for Jesus. We admire his courage, yet he could certainly be over confident. Did it occur to him that he may find himself in an adverse situation? Did he consider if he would still not deny Jesus under a very intense and risky situation?

We should all have in our mind not to deny Jesus, but we should not be over confident. We should instead pray that we will not succumb to temptation or fall from grace.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13)

Overtaken As we read the account of Peter’s denial of Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75), we see that it took place in the palace which was the residence of the High Priest. One after another, he was identified by 3 persons as a disciple of Jesus. This took place rather quickly within about an hour and so (Luke 22:55-62).  Perhaps, Peter was really not prepared to face the situation he had found himself in. Back in his mind, he probably believed that he too would be arrested if they had discovered that he was a disciple of Jesus Christ. So, denying Jesus was the best option for self preservation. It was not pre-meditated but the circumstances led him to deny Jesus, not just once but three times. Peter was overtaken by fear.

At times, we could be overtaken by a threatening situation or maybe just a perceived fearful situation. We should not succumb to fear but always remember that God will be with us in any situation. This is the assurance we have from God, that He walks with us.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

Oversight Peter followed John into the palace and found himself in a risky situation. If he did not enter the palace, he would not be tempted. Notwithstanding the fact that Jesus knew he would deny Him, it seems that Peter had exposed himself to a situation in which he was very likely to be tempted. He was careless to put himself in that situation

We need to avoid been in a situation where we could be tempted. When we are invited to dine with people whom we know are opposed to our religion, it may be safer not to accept the invitation. Neither should we be partners with our friends in an unscrupulous business which will cause us to lie and deny Christ. No one can sin and at the same time confess Jesus. The Scriptures exhort us to abstain from situations which could lead us to be tempted.

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

Peter was over confident in his faith, was overtaken by the situation and by oversight he led to be tempted. Maybe he had forgotten to “watch and pray” as our Lord told the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

In conclusion, we note that Peter actually become stronger after this incident. When Peter heard the cock crow, he realised that he had denied Jesus and wept. He did not continue to sin but repented and went back to His Lord stronger, as our Lord predicted.

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:32).

We need to confess Jesus but we also need to be careful not to deny Him. If we have denied Him, we need to repent and ask for His forgiveness. Come back stronger and strengthen our brethren!

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