Q. In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” But in Matthew 26:34 Jesus said Peter would deny Him three times, and then Peter did. What is the implication of Matthew 10:32-33 for Peter, or for that matter for any of us who fail to speak up for Christ when we have an opportunity to do so?
A. The confusion here lies with the English translation because in the Greek language two different words are used.
The word translated deny in Matthew 10:33 means to reject or refuse someone whereas the one in Matthew 26:34 means to deny being acquainted with someone.
In Matthew 26:69-74 Peter repeatedly claimed he wasn’t acquainted with Jesus. He wasn’t being truthful, but he wasn’t rejecting or refusing what Jesus was offering, which is the gift of salvation.
Failing to speak up for Christ when we have an opportunity is not the same as rejecting what He has offered us, and will not cause Him to reject us.