“Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” 37Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” John 13.36-38
Being a follower is not easy. For those of us driven to lead it is so hard to follow. Yet the longer I live, the more I submit to Christ and his lead in my life, the easier I find it to follow him and trust circumstances in life which allow me to be a follower.
When Jesus told Peter he was going someplace where Peter could not follow, Peter was having nothing to do with it. If he had been a child it would have looked like a temper tantrum in a first century Jewish living room. Since he was an adult, Peter tried to reason with Jesus by insisting that he could go and that he would do what was necessary. However, we know this was not really the case. Peter’s spirit was willing but his flesh was weak.
Jesus said to Peter, “You can’t follow me now….but later you will follow.” Peter says, “Why not Lord? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus responds firmly and with truth — “Will you really lay down your life for me? Truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” Ouch.
That must have left Peter a little shaken. Jesus didn’t speaks lies. What he said was truth and always came to pass. Imagine Peter’s surprise that having loved and served Jesus for three years he would soon disown him? Yet Peter was feeling (key word here) so sure of himself. Feelings will not last but faithful commitments will. Peter would betray Jesus and would fail him as a friend and follower. He would later repent and legend has it he would eventually die standing up for Christ.
Jesus asks us to follow him as well. It’s not that difficult. The first step is to make a commitment to give your life back to him. It involves time, priorities, attention and focus. Giving our lives to Jesus isn’t just a check box to keep us out of hell, it’s to enter into a beautiful relationship with our Creator God. When we surrender to him, place our lives in his hand and our souls in his care, we begin to experience life anew. His Holy Spirit fills us with power, love, purpose and grace.
Are you following Jesus? Does your life reflect it? Why not put Christ first in your life and everything else will fall into place for his glory and by his grace.
“O Lord God, I too act like Peter. I get excited about following you even though I am a weak vessel of flesh and bone. I allow my desires to supercede yours. Help me surrender to you! Help me know the truth of your love and the passion of your cross. Thank you for loving me and for allowing me to be saved by your grace. Help me walk in the newness of your love and the truth of your Spirit. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen