Consider the final Passover meal and those present in that rented room. Jesus is serving His disciples as they blindly enter yet another festival in Jerusalem. Mere hours separate them from the chaotic scene that will unfold in Gethsemane. They eat without regard; make statements without knowing the consequence; and lounge together without urgency. Peter is boastful as he proclaims that he would never deny the Lord. He is convinced of his loyalty, as I assume they all were. Nevertheless, hours later he will swear a solemn oath that he never knew the Lord and he will deny such knowledge three times.
We all make statements about our loyalty to our Christian belief. Members talk about devotion, consecration, and servant-hood. Large proclamations sound so good until there is a conflict. We speak of forgiveness until someone offends us and we have to actually forgive. We speak of peace until we are given the opportunity to make peace and we choose to settle the score. Everyone sees themselves as a servant until the day they are treated like one and then they are offended. Most people even announce their adherence to spiritual authority until they are confronted with something that challenges their individuality. Peter is still boasting.
I submit the “low road.” Are you willing to be wronged? Can you stand to be cheated? Paul asked the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 6:7 Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Today, many are not willing to have something said about them that is wrong. It seems that we are more defensive than forgiving. While we all say that we are following Jesus, not all are following Him in humility. We just want His power; not His suffering. He said that we should turn the other cheek. He submitted an infinite number of times to forgive our brother (7 times 70). He was keen on building a church where the body would love one another without conditions; where there would be no schisms or disunity.
If we peel back the layers of our profession, I wonder if we would find grace for one another. Are we really Christ-like? If we are put to the test, do we text, post, or speak ill of leaders or other believers just to prove our point? Where did patience and long-suffering go? Are these just words to fill the biblical writ or are they attributes that we seek on a daily basis? I am concerned that we have found a niche in religion, but we are drifting from the bleeding side of a suffering, silent Christ. He opened not His mouth all the while He was crucified for something we did.
I pray that we can recover true Christianity where love covers the myriad of infractions that occur among us all. I pray that we live what we believe; not just profess our undying devotion only to deny the very nature of Jesus Christ in the midst of our offense. It is time for us to seek Him in sincerity and to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole