John 18 v 15-18, 25-27
“Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in. 17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.” 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.” 26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.”
In the setting of two High Priests there are 2 disciples also having their own experience.
Of course, we know about Peter. He’s the denier. Everyone knows what he did.
- But failing whilst following is better than not following at all.
But there was ‘another disciple’ following also. This man who John just describes as ‘the other disciple’ was known by the high priest and went into the courtyard with Jesus. So when Annas questioned Jesus over his disciples why did he say nothing about this man? He knew him and he knew Jesus had disciples, in fact, others could recognise some of them, such as Peter. It seems to me:
- You can be with Jesus but not known as a follower of him.
But let’s not be too hard on this ‘other’ disciple.
He had the power of influence which we can all step into.
- The power of influence will always be looking backwards, in v16 he ‘came back’. Some are far too visionary, future-driven, always wanting the next chapter that they fail to turn around. In fact looking back is seen as a negative and they have Bible verses to prove it. Those with a pastoral heart are never afraid to return. There are times when you need to influence what is behind you and not what is ahead of you. For often what is behind you is no longer about you but others.
- The power of influence will use leverage, he ‘was known to the high priest (and) spoke to the servant girl on duty.’ There are moments not be missed when we have the advantage. All your experiences of the past work together to give you leverage. John doesn’t tell us how he was known and many have speculated of course. But the longer you live the more leverage you have if you are wise enough to use it and to do so unselfishly.
- The power of influence empowers others, he ‘brought Peter in’. He gave Peter the right to be there. The problem was Peter didn’t embrace that right and the enemy used that weakness to exploit Peter. The questions were said negatively, “You aren’t …” twice and “Didn’t I …” NO! Peter was out of the boat again, he was uncomfortable in his surroundings, he was lacking confidence even before the questions came. Being in a place because someone has got you there is different than being there in your own right. Remember John’s opening words, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (1:12) The battle in our lives is over the right to be who God says we are and moving into places God takes us into. It is confidence and we must win that battle throughout our life. Maybe today you can battle for someone else and bring them in and empower them, build their confidence. Don’t leave them alone with their insecurities for their enemy is near.