We’re looking at the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ as recorded by Luke’s Gospel. They have just finished the Passover meal. Jesus gave them some sobering words about His betrayal. Now, He gives them some encouragement.
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Luke 22:28-30 NIV
The Lord lets them know that their faithfulness will be rewarded. They have been given a place of honor in the kingdom of God. They are qualified to judge, because they have seen the response of the nation of Israel.
Now, Christ turns His attention to Simon Peter.
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Luke 22:31-34 NIV
The Lord predicts that none will stand with Him in His final hours. That thought shocked them, especially Peter. He couldn’t imagine that he would ever deny knowing Christ. But very soon he would find out how far off his self-assessment was.
I think that we focus on Peter too much when we read this passage. After all, we would know better than to deny knowing the Lord. Or would we? Let’s think about what’s happening here. Mark gives us a few more details.
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’”
Mark 14:27 NIV
Jesus quotes a Scriptural truth to His disciples. He tells them that when the Shepherd it struck, the sheep are scattered. He was referring to the disciples as the sheep.
However, Jesus was using this verse to prove His first statement that they would all fall away. That literally means that they would all be offended or tripped up. It was being offended that caused the sheep to leave the side of the Shepherd.
This didn’t mean that they stopped loving or following Christ, they just didn’t want to stand too close to Him. They didn’t want the hatred of the leaders to be against themselves.
In our society, right now, there’s a definite hatred against the name of Jesus Christ. Any mention of Christ or the teaching of Scripture and they begin to shut down and stop listening. So, what’s our response?
I’ve found that in many cases we start to distance ourselves from Christ. For instance, there are many singers and entertainers who profess Christ – privately. I’m frequently told of one or another who are Christians.
The problem is that by watching the movies they’re in or hearing the songs they record; I would never have known. Even in their interviews, they may only make a slight reference to God.
Of course, it’s not just those in the media. What about “regular” Christians? What happens when people ask us about our views on evolution, homosexuality, abortion, or other controversial topics? Do we simply shrug our shoulders and stay silent?
Please understand that I’m not talking about being offensive and attacking others with Scripture. The world has a very good idea of what Christ, and the Bible, teaches. As believers, we need to be willing to stand with Christ and take any heat the world may bring on account of this.
We need to pray for boldness in our generation. In that way, when the world strikes at our Shepherd, we will stand with Him.
Question: How have you been hurt for standing with Christ and His Word?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi