We Are Christ’s Ambassadors
Jesus, the Lord of all, stands before the Sanhedrin or Jewish religious court. There, the high priest examines the Lord concerning his teaching and work and his claims to be the Son of God. The scribes, teachers of the law, and the elders are observing or assisting in this examination.
Outside in the courtyard, the apostle Peter sits warming himself before the heat of an open fire. Peter the rock nervously awaits to see what will become of his Master: the One whom, earlier, Peter had confessed openly to be the Son of God. (Matt. 16:16ff)
Peter’s First Denial
Just then, a servant girl comes up to Peter. The girl looks more closely at the Lord’s disciple in the fire’s flickering light. Then, to Peter’s dismay, she says aloud,
“…You also were with Jesus the Galilean….” (Matt. 26:69b ESV; see also Luke 22:56)
Before everyone in the courtyard, the girl asserts that Peter had been with the Man who now stood falsely accused.
Peter reacted immediately. He dismissed the servant girl’s claim, saying he did not know what she was talking about. The girl had witnessed to the truth, but the apostle had tried to give the lie to her testimony. In the crisis of the moment, the disciple of the Lord had yielded to deceit.
Peter’s Second Denial
After this encounter, Peter thought it better to leave the warmth and comfort of the fire for the relative seclusion of the darkened porch. Perhaps he would not be recognised so readily in the shadow of the pillars.
Before long, however, another girl saw him standing in the shadows. This girl, too, affirmed to the people that Peter had indeed been with Jesus of Nazareth (v.71). Peter’s dismay now turns to alarm. Why don’t these people leave him alone? Do they want the temple guards to hear and arrest him?
Turning toward the young woman, the apostle emphatically denies her claim. In the hearing of the people, Peter dismisses her testimony with an oath, adding, “…I do not know the man!” (v.72 ESV) In the crisis of the hour, the disciple of the Lord had resorted to deception – and cursing.
Peter’s Third Denial
Meanwhile, the people milling around in the courtyard had been thinking about what the two young women were saying. Eventually, one of their number stood forward to address Peter:
“Surely you too are one of them, for the way you talk [i.e., your accent] makes it clear.” (v.73 ESV)
The apostle had been betrayed by his Galilean accent!
However, when thus challenged, Peter again curses and swears, “…I do not know that man!” (v.74 ESV) In the crises of the day, the disciple of the Lord had been guilty of lying, cursing and swearing.
Three times, Peter had denied the One he previously acknowledged: The One he had confessed to being the Christ, the Son of the living God; the One he had followed during the past three years. Peter the rock, it seemed, was crumbling to dust!
Taken off guard and fearing the consequences of identification with Christ, the apostle had denied his Master’s name. Under pressure from the world, the disciple of the Lord had failed to honour his Saviour and his God.
Have We Disowned Our Master?
How often have we been like Peter? How many times – by our thoughts, words or actions – have we denied all knowledge of our Saviour and Lord? How frequently – by remaining silent when we had the opportunity to speak in the name of our Master – have we disowned the One who owned us for himself?
How can we be the Lord’s ambassador when we fail to represent his Name?
Let us stand by what we know! Let us stand and not give way – not even for a moment. Christ, our Lord, is Lord of all; and where he causes us to be, there he intends that we serve him – by thought, word and deed.
Unless a person experiences in his life the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, he cannot be saved. He cannot be delivered from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Nevertheless, how shall he know the way of light except by the light of God’s Word shining into his heart? Furthermore, how shall he understand the Word of God to his soul, except we – by the Word and by the Spirit – guide him in the way?
We are Christ’s Ambassadors!
Let us stop hiding in the shadows! In this divided, confused, and rebellious world, we must stand for Christ, letting our light shine upon a lost and sinful world—a world abiding under God’s righteous and terrible wrath.
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Rom. 1:18 ESV)
Let it be clearly seen by what we do and say, who we are and whom we serve. Let sinful men and women hear from us of God’s love and mercy toward repentant sinners.
It is the Lord Christ that we serve. Therefore, let our service be unto the glory of God and not for the praise of men.
Each one of us is Christ’s ambassador. Let us represent our Sovereign Lord!
MAT2672.DOC / HAL01 (1) 81/86/22 © 2022 Gordon Lyons