08 November 2013

Peter and the Servant Girl: Denial

Mark 14:66-72

"You there.
You also were
with Jesus of Nazareth."
Please tell me you were.
I've heard
so much,
want to know
so much.
You were there,
saw it all -
blind who could see,
lame who could walk -
is it all true?
Tell me I'm right,
that you are one of his -
there's so much I'd like to know.

Why do you deny it?
Was I wrong?
Didn't I see you,
singing with them all,
waving palms
to prepare his way?
"This man -
I'm certain -
he's one of them."

Why do you deny it
so vehemently?
I only want to hear
of the things you've seen;
I only want to know
whether the stories are true,
whether he deserves to die,
and what he means to you.
Why run away
when all of us know:
"Certainly you're one of them;
a Galilean like the rest."

As you deny him
you deny me
the chance to find
the answers I seek.
Why are you afraid,
why do you lie,
when all I want
is the Truth?


[8. November 2013 - improvements 15. April 2014]

Peter's denial is a story I keep returning to. This time, from the servant girl's point of view.

After Jesus' arrest, Peter followed the guards. During Jesus' hearing, he warmed himself in the courtyard - and then a servant girl went up to him and declared that he was one of Jesus' followers - which Peter denied, again and again.

Usually we focus on what Peter is going through. To write about the servant girl, I had to consider her point of view. Why did she (and the other servants) keep insisting Peter was one of Jesus' disciples? What was her motive? We often assume Peter was afraid of being arrested too (probably he was) - but the servants don't seem to have been interested in arresting him. They knew who he was (they don't actually ask him, they make a statement about who he is, and he tells them they're wrong). They could easily have gotten him arrested if they wanted to. So why the prodding?

I had to think of how we, as followers of Jesus, are meant to be witnesses. Not just in our words, but also by our lives, and through the way we explain to others how Jesus has changed us, and answer their questions. "Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you." (1 Pet 3:15) We should live in a way that people ask questions - and then answer honestly and point to Jesus, giving Him glory. Seems Peter realised that in his later years, after this experience...

I grew up in a non-Christian country, with non-Christian classmates, and often they asked me questions! It's silly really, how easily we can feel embarrassed about telling others about our faith, or afraid that we might seem intolerant, etc. But by denying or hiding what Jesus has done in our lives, we are actually denying the asking friend a chance to hear about Jesus, and maybe get the answers they've been waiting for or are curious about.

So I was thinking: maybe this servant girl just wanted to use this chance of having an eyewitness around, to question him about Jesus. Instead of giving her the answers she was waiting for, Peter immediately expected the worst and got defensive.

Let's not immediately think the worst of people who speak to us. Let's not straight-away think they want to bash our beliefs. Instead, let's be open and honest about what we believe, and give account of the hope that is in us. If our lives exude hope and joy, then people who are waiting and longing for hope and joy will come to us to find out how we found it. Let's not deny them the chance.

No comments:

Post a Comment