“Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.’ ” Mark 14:66-67
We all know what’s coming. Just a few hours have past since Jesus told Peter that on this night he would deny his beloved Lord and Master. And here Peter is, standing next to a fire, warming his hands, surrounded by the servants and supporters of the High Priest and now someone comes to him saying, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.”
We don’t even need to go any further to anticipate what Peter’s going to say. We know that Peter’s going to open his mouth and deny that he was with Jesus. We know that, if pressed, Peter’s going to deny that he ever knew Jesus.
How do we know? Because that’s what any person bent on self preservation would have done. But more specifically, we know that, were we put in the same situation, that’s what we would want to do. And on top of that, Jesus said that’s what Peter would do.
But let’s set aside Peter’s denials, hundreds of sermons have been preached about them already. Instead let’s focus on the one positive thing that happened by the fire in the High Priest’s courtyard that night. The servant girl recognized that Peter had been with Jesus.
This means that either Peter had speech, or other behavioral qualities, that identified him as being a follower of Jesus, or he was so frequently seen in the company of Jesus that even a busy servant girl could recognize him.
Yes, Peter denied Jesus. But his denials were unconvincing because while his mouth was producing statements denying that he ever knew Jesus, the rest of him was crying out, “I’ve been with Jesus!”
Minus the denials, that’s kind of life every Christian ought to have. And there’s only one way to get it. We tend to become like the people we’re with. So like Peter, we need to devote ourselves to loving, living and working with Christ and his followers. Then, like Peter, we’ll bear the mark that we’ve been with Jesus.