Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they [disciples] all said the same. (ESV)
Powerful and loyal words from friends which were proven to have no substance not even twelve hours later.
To be loyal to someone requires a person to show constant support to another. In our daily lives we would normally be loyal to our family and to our friends which means that if the person is going through a difficult time or is facing much resistance, we would give 100% support to that person and will stand up for him or her no matter what it takes.
In Jesus’s case, he had friends, who have walked with him on a daily basis, promising their allegiance only to run away when the first sign of resistance occurred. This included Peter, his best friend and the one who was least likely to betray Jesus. Yes, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, but Peter denied Jesus’s authority at the most critical time. Putting yourself in Jesus’s shoes which betrayal would have been worse do you think?
The day we confess our faith in Jesus Christ, is the day that we become part of God’s ‘inner circle’. Part of a family of believers who are loyal to God and loyal to each other. But the question that bothers me lately is: “How loyal am I really?” Do I stand up enough for my faith and what I know is right or wrong? Or do I keep quiet because it doesn’t necessarily affect me or will make a situation uncomfortable if I choose to speak up. If there is ever a case where I can potentially be persecuted for my faith such as those who have recently been killed by the Islamic state of Iraq, will I choose to be loyal to Christ or will I run away like the young man told of in Mark 14:51-52 who left his linen cloth behind and literally fled naked into the night in his haste to get away from Christ’s capture and the risk to be seen with him?
Our loyalty to Christ does not have to be tested in extreme situations like this, because everytime we choose to keep quiet about our faith or our relationship with Christ, we deny Him and Thus are guilty of betrayal. At the same time we also need to recognise that our betrayal does not always happen on purpose. Like Peter and the disciples we may have the best intentions, but we are not always strong enough to stand up for God on our own. It is times like this that we need to recognise our dependence on God and rely on the Holy Spirit so that we can become spiritually strong and persevere in our loyalty and faith.
The next time your loyalty is tested ask yourself: What hurts more? The betrayal of an enemy or the betrayal of a friend?