John 13:36-38

day 35

Three verses, eh? Simple – Ha!

Still in the upper room, Jesus has just explained He was going where they could not follow and given the disciples the new commandment “to love one another.”

Peter wants clarification. “Lord, where are you going?”

Jesus replies, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”

Peter says, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”

Jesus answers, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

On the heels of the topic of love Peter, always the “action guy”, is ready to demonstrate his love for Jesus. “But you will follow afterward” is Jesus telling Peter he still has work to do – but there is an order to things. There is God’s timing.

In his zeal and self-confidence Peter blows right past Jesus – “Why not now?” “Look what I can do for you!” (I have learned the hard way to check the little voice in my head that screams “now”. It’s the “tyranny of the urgent” and Jesus is almost never in it.)

But Peter and I want to plow off into the “doing.” Don’t worry Jesus, we’ve got this! Whatever it takes! We go blundering off in our own strength, with our puffed up courage and delusions of grandeur. Completely unarmed we are doomed to fail because “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Prov. 16:18.

Maybe I should derive some comfort that Jesus knows when I am going to crash and burn. Like for Peter, He warns me to watch out – not to trust in my own plans. (Here’s a shout out to all those OCC’ers who have chosen Proverbs 3:5-6 for their name tag verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”)

There is mercy in Jesus’ words to Peter – there is a time frame for his truancy – one night. There are specifics – 3 times. Peter will find himself doing exactly what Jesus has warned. Peter will experience his own weakness and I must experience my own. Peter is a beacon – my sacrifice is not enough, even if I think I am willing – it never was. It is Jesus who must lay down His life for me.

About God?
God is merciful in all His ways.

About Me?
Avoid the potholes, stop and ask for directions – Jesus already has a plan.

About the World?
Great blessings belong to those who know they are spiritually in need. God’s kingdom belongs to them. (Matt 5:3 ERV)


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