Professing Men To Proven Men
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. — John 18:15-18
The inquisition takes Jesus to the residence of Caiaphas, which would have been in view of the Temple but not on the Temple grounds. His house appeared rather opulent as it held a courtyard and had a servant to watch the gate. Today, this house has been excavated and is found under the Church of St. Peter. (Check out the video if you like.)
The only two to follow Jesus to his hearing are Peter and John. There is a lot of debate about who this "other disciple" might be, but I see no reason to identify this as anyone other than John since he also speaks about himself in the same cryptic nature throughout this book.
But even more important is the fact they follow. This is courageous, given the mystery of the circumstances. And they appear courageous until they arrive at the gate. John is allowed entry, but Peter remains outside. Then John vouches for Peter, and he gains access. But then, this little servant girl who watches the gate confidently questions the association of Peter with the arrested Jesus. And now his courage is put to the test. Will Peter do as he promised? Will he "lay down his life for him?" (John 13:37). The answer is clear. "No."
Notice that Peter's denial is not some life-threatening situation. It is not a denial to a Roman soldier. It is not some high-ranking Jewish official in a religious court. It was not before the Roman governor in his court. It is before a little servant girl who works the gate in the darkness of night. And notice Peter's declaration — “I am not he" (ouk eimi). This stands in sharp contrast to the moment just before this when Jesus declared — "I am he" (ego eimi).
Something is inspiring about the passion of a man who proclaims to live all in for Jesus. Like Peter's in John 13:37, proclamations push, persuade, and prompt us. Peter confidently declared to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for you.” But proclamations like this are just professions until a test proves them. In my opinion, plenty of professing men proclaim many things about Jesus but fail the proving test he presents them every day. They don't lead their families spiritually. They give a pass to repetitive sin. They turn their back on the injustice in their world. They are silent about their faith in everyday interactions. But when they are with believing men, they will proclaim and profess they are all in for Jesus. But professing men only become proven when they are willing to submit to the small tests and prove what they profess. The little unsuspecting moments before little servant girls are often the big proving moments. And each one of these small moments prepares and proves us differently.
So what is your small present proving moment? You will have one today, I promise. And once you locate it, or it comes upon you, do something different. Profess less and prove more because proven men are in short supply.
Have you ever declared strong faith but struggled when tested in everyday situations?
How can we bridge the gap between proclamation and action, as seen in Peter's denial?
Can you share a recent situation where your faith was tested unexpectedly?
What can we learn from these small moments, and how can we respond faithfully to them?
DO THIS: Be a proven man.
PRAY THIS: Lord, help me find the courage to match my words with actions, just as Peter's story reminds us today. Guide me through the small proving moments, strengthening my faith and commitment to live authentically for You. Amen.
PLAY THIS: Keep On Proving It.
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