Summary: What to do when you don’t have the strength to admit you are a Christian.
To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD. Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant. For the sake of your name, O LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. (NIV)
Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
"You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter. He replied, "I am not."
It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."
When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded.
“If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"
Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest. As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying, "I am not." One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn’t I see you with him in the olive grove?"
Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (NIV)
John gives a great history of the life of Jesus, but what really makes that history come alive is that he is more than a historian. He is a storyteller.
There is a difference between the two.
The historian tends to be most interested in facts, causes and events, and details. The historian would look at an event such as the Battle of Midway and say something to the effect that on June 7 and 8, 1942, just 6 months after suffering a defeat in the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Navy turned the tide of the war in the Pacific. Having intercepted secret messages, the Navy knew of Japanese plans to attack and take over the Island of Midway. With this foreknowledge, Admiral Spruance led a successful resistance and inflicted irreparable damage on the Japanese Imperial Fleet.
Who among us has not sat through a school class as some historian droned on and on about the cold hard facts of the events.
But – let a storyteller walk into the room and all of us will perk up our ears and listen in great interest.
“There I was,” the storyteller would say, “Stationed on the aircraft carrier Yorktown. It had been badly damaged but we limped our way out of Pearl Harbor after being pieced back together. I took off on the morning of June 7th and flew above the clouds until I reached a break in the cloud cover. All of a sudden, I looked down and saw the whole cotton pickin’ Jap Fleet. My whole squadron started dive-bombing the ships. I dove on one and dropped a bomb on them just like they had done to us back at Pearl. I looked back and saw the ship in flames and I knew right then, we were going to save the Island of Midway!”
John is that kind of storyteller. In our New Testament lesson he tells us a story that ALL Gospel writers record. But John remembers it in such wonderfully vivid detail. For he was there>