I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man, will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9)
What does it look like to deny Jesus before men? We can think of the explicit case of being asked to apostatize, but how might this temptation sneak into our ordinary lives?
A temptation to deny is an opportunity to acknowledge, so perhaps we should ask: How might the opportunity to “acknowledge Jesus before men” present itself in our lives? But to acknowledge Jesus before others, we first need to find Him.
Who is Jesus? Where is he whom my heart seeks? Is he hiding in the gaze of our brother, the one we did not stop to see? Is he the one being chastised, suffering because of evil, suffering because of sin?
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4)
What does Jesus ask of us? He died for you; He died for me. Are we ready to acknowledge him before the world? Once we know what He has done for us, what are we willing to do for him? (cf. John 13:12). Are we prepared to risk our reputations, perhaps even our livelihoods, to acknowledge the love of our lives before all men?
Just before today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us: Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows (Luke 12:7). Grounded in this truth is how we find the courage to risk everything for him.
Let us pray:
May your grace, O Lord, we pray, at all times, go before us, follow after, and make us always determined to carry out good works. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. (Collect)