And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” Luke 22:55-57
After three years of mentoring and discipling from Jesus, Peter was on his way to Ecclesiastical stardom. Earlier in their journey, Jesus had already told Peter that upon his faith, commitment, and discipleship fervor, he would build his church (Matthew 16:18). Peter is the only disciple to walk on water (though briefly). He was in Jesus’ inner circle and was one of the select few disciples to be on the Mount of transfiguration with Jesus.
On the day that Jesus was arrested, Peter had the opportunity to stand out and be immortalized in the annals of history as the disciple who stood by Jesus until the end. Instead, he missed the opportunity to take a stand for Jesus when the Lord needed him most. Peter missed the opportunity to speak truth to power. Amid the chaos and confusion surrounding the arrest of Jesus, Peter allowed fear to neutralize his faith and commitment to Jesus Christ.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the social unrest throughout the US offer us an opportunity to be the Church of Jesus Christ more meaningfully. We now have an opportunity to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above ourselves” (Philippians 2:3). If we do, we can help close the racial divide gap and be seen as drum majors for justice.
Let us not miss the opportunity to have a constructive and honest dialogue with one another so we can become more aligned as members of the Body of Christ. Such conversations are not easy, but they are necessary for healing and reconciliation. We need to hear and be heard so that our individual story can become the testimony that leads to meaningful change.
As we call for an end to systemic racism, let us also not miss the opportunity to strive for harmony through diversity. Members of the Body of Christ should not miss the opportunity to proclaim Jesus even as we advocate for change. Our theological convictions should drive our social agenda. The cause for which people are marching and protesting is just. Nevertheless, we must be careful not to become oppressive in our pursuit of justice.
In a commentary about the cowardice of German intellectuals and certain clergy following the Nazi’s rise to power, German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) wrote in 1946, "They came first for the Communists, and I did not speak up because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up."
Whereas many intellectuals, pastors, and good German folks missed the opportunity to speak out against the tyranny of Nazism in Germany, many in this country should be careful not to miss the opportunity to join the chorus of justice-minded people who are crying out for righteousness in the land. Justice is color blind and politically unaffiliated. Our mission is to transform this world into the kingdom of God. Such a lofty assignment requires patience, endurance, perseverance, forgiveness, and faithfulness to the great commission. In the end, we should never miss the opportunity to be a living-walking Bible through whom others can experience the love of Jesus Christ.
Prayer- Blessed Lord, please give us the courage to make the best of every opportunity given to us to reflect the love of Jesus Christ.