Get Up. Follow Jesus.
As followers of Christ, we all have opportunities every day to acknowledge (praise, glorify, point them to, talk positively about) Jesus before others. But many, if not most, of these opportunities are lost. We fail to step into the opportunity for any number or reasons – distraction, disinterest, fear, or some combination of those.
Jesus tells us plainly, “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32-33)
But fear not if you see yourself on the wrong side of this. Jesus’ love for you is infinite and unchanging. And you are in good company. Let’s look at a couple of “first round draft picks” as examples.
In the hours leading up to the crucifixion, Peter famously denies Jesus three times. He even proclaimed that “I do not know him!” That’s a pretty immense failure. But of course, Peter’s story does not end there. Jesus comes to Peter and invites him to follow Him again. Jesus “recommissions” Peter and sends him back out to do the very thing that he had just failed at doing. And Peter did.
Now consider Paul. Formerly a passionate persecutor of followers of Jesus, Paul is miraculously converted on the road to Damascus. He had not only failed to acknowledge Jesus in the past, Paul was one of His most active enemies. Now, a new creation, Jesus proclaims that Paul “is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15) Paul was now called to take opportunities that he had used to persecute Jesus and use them to proclaim the good news of Jesus. And Paul did.
We all sometimes fail to acknowledge Jesus as we should. But Jesus is not looking to condemn us for these failures. He simply, loving, and consistently calls us to follow Him and obey His command, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)