Last time we met we heard a new commandment given to us, today we hear a prediction in John 13:36-38.
36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “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.
Jesus had mentioned in the preceding verses: Where I am going you cannot come. Peter immediately jumped on that. Where would Jesus go that Peter couldn’t go with him? All Jesus said to him was “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” So he did not really answer Peter’s question, but mentioned that Peter would be following him. I can totally understand why Peter would asked why can’t him come along now? And Peter, not knowing what was to come even added “I will lay down my life for you.“
Part of me wonders if Jesus’ heart was sad or wistful even. He knows what is to come, and he even knows what Peter’s response will be, and here Peter is saying I’ll lay my life down for you. He must have loved Peter’s statement, even though he knew it wouldn’t hold up in the short term. We can’t really know though because scripture doesn’t tell me, it’s just me wondering. All we do know is that Jesus challenged Peter’s statement when he answered “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.”
Perhaps a shock?
What a shock that must have been for Peter, for Jesus to answer him this way.
We don’t see a vehement denial…which is what I could see myself doing. But to have his love for the Lord challenged. I wonder if it made Peter just pause and think for a minute, wondering what Jesus meant. Deny him? and not only that, deny him three times? It would set me back a bit I think. Yet you know what we aren’t told?
We aren’t told that Peter stormed out of the room. It isn’t mentioned that Satan entered him, or that he had hurt feelings. Seeing Peter getting angry and upset is just not there. We just find ourselves sliding in chapter 14 where Jesus continues to talk to the disciples. I won’t get into that whole passage today, but Jesus tells Peter and the rest of the disciples “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” Do you see the reassurance that Jesus immediately offered? Just a lovely thing in the midst of a challenge. As much as I want to delved into chapter 14 more I need to wait! (come back tomorrow eh?)