Summary: A challenge to stand firm in our faith.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you just wish you could crawl underneath something and stay there for as long as possible? Boy, I have. I remember one time, in the seventh grade, there was this girl that I liked. Her name was Kristina, and man, she was cute. I really, really liked her. And so I decided that I was going to ask her out. So one day, during class, I got permission to go to the bathroom and I walked out, went to the bathroom, then took a note I had written that said, “Will you go out with me? Ben,” and slipped it into one of the slots of her locker, which luckily, was directly above mine.
After class was over we were all at our lockers switching our books out for the next class when all of the sudden this note I had written fell out of the locker I had put it in. The only thing was, I had put it in the wrong locker. I had put it in Kristina’s friend’s locker. Kristina’s friend was not pretty. I did not want to go out with her. And so I very quickly picked up my note and put it in my pocket. If she had opened that note I would have been in trouble. I didn’t put Kristina’s name on it. She would have thought I was asking her. That would have been bad news all around, no matter what her answer was.
Well, I managed to get the note in the right locker during the next class. So now it was just wait and see. Later that day Kristina and I had band together. And as I was sitting there warming up my trombone, all of the sudden one of Kristina’s friends comes out of the instrument closet and says very loudly so that everyone could hear, “Ben, Kristina said that she doesn’t want to go out with you.” That was embarrassing. That was one of those times in middle school when I could have would have just loved it if God would have ended my misery right there. If there was any hint of a stone in that classroom I would have done my best to crawl under it.
We all have moments like that, don’t we? Sometimes it’s because we get exposed in front of our friends. Sometimes it’s because we’re ashamed of something that we got caught doing. Sometimes it’s because someone that we’re with or someone that we’re associated with is embarrassing us in some way by their actions.
Several years ago my family took a big summer trip. Our second big stop was in Chicago. I love Chicago. But one afternoon we decided to take a little drive through the downtown section just to see the sights. And as we were creeping along in very slow traffic we found ourselves captivated by all the people who were walking down the sidewalks. Businessmen and women. Messenger boys on bikes. Homeless people.
One group of people in particular that I remember seeing that afternoon was a group of teenage skateboarders making their way through those streets. It wasn’t necessarily them that caught my attention though. It was my dad. You see, for some odd reason, I don’t know why, my dad decided he was going to roll down the window and yell at these guys. And I don’t remember what he yelled, but I was just sure it was something they were going to take offense by.
Now you have to remember, we’re creeping along in traffic. A guy in an electric wheelchair was going faster along the sidewalks than we were in our car. And I could just see these guys getting mad at my dad and skating over to our car and pulling us out and beating us up. This was Chicago. Those were punks. My dad was yelling at them. I could just feel myself sinking down as low as I could in my seat. I wanted to hide.
Have you ever wanted to hide before? Have you ever been embarrassed or ashamed? I think we all have. In John 18 we are told the story of Jesus’ arrest and trial. In the middle of that account though we find the focus shift, just for a second, away from Jesus, and on to Peter. And probably in what could be considered the lowest point of Peter’s life he is exposed before us. For we are told about how he stood in the courtyard of the high priest as Jesus was being questioned by the Sanhedrin. And as he stood there, warming himself by the fire, a servant girl approached Peter and said, “You aren’t one of Jesus’ disciples, are you?” And Peter’s response comes as a shock to us. “Of course not,” he answered. Peter? Why are denying to be a follower of Jesus when He needs you most? A little while later Peter was approached again and again asked if he was a follower of Jesus. And again, he denies that he is. A third time he is questioned, this time by a man who thought he had seen Peter in Gethsemane. But a third time, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, and emphasized his answer with a curse.