Disown Jesus, He Will Then Disown You
April 15, 2010
What does it mean to deny or disown Jesus? I believe it means something quite different than most people think. And I believe it is something many “Christians” do a lot more often than they think.
I was reading Matt. 26 this morning about how Peter promised Jesus, “Even if all fall away on account of You, I never will.” (v. 33) Yet Jesus told Peter that he actually would, that very night, disown Him three times. Peter again declared that he would not: “‘Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.’ And all the other disciples said the same.” Yet… in verses 69-75 we read that Peter did.
However, did Peter realize, at the time, that he was denying Jesus? Not really, or at least, not fully. Because in verse 75 it says “Then Peter remembered” what Jesus had predicted he would do. But the word “then” refers to when he heard the rooster crow, after which he went out and wept bitterly over what he had just done. So while Peter was under the emotions of fear and confusion at seeing Jesus arrested and mistreated (v. 67,68), we could say he got caught off guard with several accusations that could’ve been quite frightening to anyone in that situation.
What about us? Have we ever found ourselves amongst a group that is disgracing or mocking Jesus, the Bible, holiness, or purity? What do we act like? What do we say? Do we take a stand against it? Or do we stay quiet –or even join in a little so no one can notice we are different or “strange”? What about watching lewd movies? Or laughing at off-color jokes? Or joining in with the conversation about people’s bodies or sex-appeal?
The words “deny” and “disown” are used interchangeably, for the word Jesus used in Matt. 26:34 means “utterly deny”. So what Jesus thought of what Peter did was nothing less than “utterly denying Christ.” Yet did Peter not love his Teacher? He did. And did not Peter believe he was committed to Jesus even unto death? He did.
How many “Christians” think, like Peter, that they are absolutely, whole-heartedly committed to the Savior, yet when they are faced with having to take a stand for righteousness –even in their own actions, words, and thoughts– they let the stand slip? “Oh, well,” they think. “I’m caught in a hard situation right now. I’ll pick up my “Christianity” later.”
So-called “Christians” do this all the time. Let me give a few examples and the reader can decide if they’ve seen or experienced this: A woman gets irate with a co-worker, so she spews out a mile-long tirade about her to a friend, even using four-letter words. She rationalizes that she’s allowed to vent –even though Scripture clearly condemns both foul talk and slander.
Or how about this? –A man who, though he has gone to church all his life and has had plenty of Bible teaching, rationalizes that since he is unmarried and yet has a God-given sex drive, he can’t help but sometimes sleep with his girlfriend.
Or this: A man is a leader in his church, but he likes to watch “action movies” –which really are packed with violence and perversion– yet he spends only a fraction of time in God’s Word comparatively.
I know you’ve all noticed this ever-so-popular rationalization going on amongst those who say they love and follow Jesus. Yet what does Jesus say of this sort? He considers it to be denying Him, for these actions, words, and willful thoughts are denying both His power to set the sinner free of sin (Rom. 6:18) and His Lordship in demanding that His followers hold to His teachings so that they will be free of sin. (See John 8:31,32)
Jesus says our words will condemn or acquit us. (Matt. 12:37) He also says –so will our thoughts. (Matt. 5:27-29) Titus 1:16 says actions deny God –even by those who claim to know Him! And what does 2 Tim. 2:12 say? It says, “If we disown Him, He will disown us.” This is very serious. And remember, Jesus used this word with Peter.
Let’s take heed and put all these verses together. For what Scripture is telling us, is that if Peter “utterly denied” Jesus three times in one night, we also may be doing so –much more often than we may admit. Peter realized what he’d done and he totally repented –with bitter tears. But what modern Bible-touters actually repent of all these denials they are committing against Jesus? Not many. Instead, they just go on in their sin; and becoming more and more calloused, they head toward Judgement Day when they will be held accountable “for every careless word they have spoken” (Matt. 12:36), not to mention their careless thoughts and deeds.
As Jesus warns in Mark 8:38, “If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.”
And in Matt. 10:32,33, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven.” This is what Peter did. And so do many “Christians.” But again, Peter repented –thoroughly –which is an absolute necessity for all who deny Him –even once. Otherwise, on that Final Day, Jesus will in turn “utterly deny” the one standing before Him… to be judged.