Jump Start # 3056
Matthew 26:73 “A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, ‘Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.’”
Our verse today comes from one of the darkest nights in history. Judas had betrayed. Jesus was arrested and led away. Things were moving fast. A couple of flawed trials, an appearance with Pilate, then nails, then the cross, then death. As Jesus was led away, Peter followed. He watched. As Jesus was being accused by the Sanhedrin, Peter stood outside. Others were there.
A servant girl is the first to point a finger and accuse Peter. He wilts. He denies. Later, another servant girl does the same thing. Again, Peter denies. Then our verse today. A bystander says to Peter, “You are one of them. Your talk gives you away.” It was at that moment that fear crushed Peter. He cursed. He denied. He swore. He proclaimed, “I do not know the man!” And, a rooster crowed.
I have been to the place where many think this happened. As we were looking at things, a rooster crowed. He crowed not just once, but four times. It sure made me think of ole’ Peter and that dark night.
But in the accusatory statement of the bystander, we find something hopeful for us. Here’s what I mean:
First, I am “one of them.” I am. I’m happy to be noticed as “one of them.” I am delighted to be named among the followers of Christ. I have no shame about that. I am not ashamed about the Bible I carry. I am not ashamed about the way I worship. I am not ashamed of my spiritual family in Christ. They are the greatest people on earth. Yes, I am one of them. And, I hope I do as well as they do. I hope they see something common in all of us. We come from different places. We look differently. We have different education, experiences and dreams. But, together, we are “them.” I am one of them.
In writing to Titus, the apostle used the expression “our people.” Our people, he said, must learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs. Our people. You are one of them. Yep, I sure am. Sometimes we can get bothered by each other. There are times all we see are the things that are wrong. We complain. We get discouraged. Some have been writing a bunch about the troubles plaguing our congregations. And, if not careful, we can leave the impression that we don’t like each other. We leave the idea that we are splitting up and heading for a divorce from each other.
But with all the warts, scars, troubles and trials among us, I am so thankful to be “one of them.” We are the people of God. We are His nation. We are making a difference. Across the planet people are being baptized because they have been shown the gospel by “one of them.” Churches are honoring Christ every week by remaining faithful to God’s word. Crushed hearts are being restored. Prodigals are coming home. Good is being done every day. God’s word is being spread internationally through all kinds of mediums.
Yes, there are things to be worked on and improved upon, but I wouldn’t want to be with any other group of people. These people love, support, defend and cherish the name of Christ, our Savior. Culturally, we are despised, talked about and even mocked. But, I am one of them and I wouldn’t want to be with anyone else.
Second, “the way you talk gives you away.” It sure does. I don’t talk trash, dirty, gossip or put people down. My speech gives me away. I don’t like it when others curse, blasphemy or abuse the Lord with their mouths. Not only does my talk give me away, but so does my modesty. So does my choices. So does my attitude. So does my use of money. So does what interests me. So does what I pursue. I’m a sure give away. You can spot me a block away. I belong to Jesus. I’ll pray in the public, read my Bible on an airplane, drop the Lord’s name in common conversations, thank Him, praise Him and honor Him, every chance I get. I’m a dead give away.
I don’t want to be a secret disciple like Joseph was. I don’t want turn my back on “my people” as Demas did. I don’t want to walk as a hypocrite or be one that no one would ever consider a Christian. I am one of them. I am a dead give away. Because of that, some may turn around and walk the other way. That’s ok. Because of that, I may not be included, invited, or welcomed in some places. I’m good with that.
I belong to Jesus. I am His and He is mine. I am “one of them.” Not popular. Not one most want to be like, but one that is happy to stand beside by Savior. My speech gives me away.
And, unlike Peter, I will not curse, swear or deny my Jesus. I will not say, “I do not know Him.” Instead, I do know Him. I love Him. And, I wish everyone could know Him.
One of them…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!