Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thoughts on John 13:36-38

Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later." Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow you right now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times" (John 13:36-38).

Peter should provide a very serious warning to all of us as followers of Jesus Christ. Certainly Judas denied the Lord, but so did Peter. It's interesting that Peter failed at exactly the point where he was strongest - not where he was weakest. Peter was bold, courageous, strong, "steady as a rock," outspoken, and sometimes brash. He was the only one who stepped out of the boat and walked on water. Peter defended Jesus with the sword by cutting off the ear of the servant of the High Priest (I think he was aiming at the middle of his head but missed). Even though all of this was true, Peter was afraid of a servant-girl when she asked him if he knew Jesus, and he then compounded it by denying Christ with an oath!

Peter meant what he said to the Lord. He sincerely believed that he would (and could) sacrifice his life for Jesus. He wasn't making a statement just to impress the other disciples. What he failed to realize was that he didn't have any strength outside of Christ. Peter's personality was bold and strong and courageous, but left to himself, he wasn't any of these things. He was weak and timid when push came to shove. Peter didn't understand - at that point - that our real strength comes in weakness (2 Cor. 12:10). When we know we're weak - and not strong - we will rely on and cling to the strength of God even more.

J.C. Ryle wrote: "We fancy sometimes, like Peter, that there are some things we could not possibly do. We look pityingly upon others who fall, and plume ourselves in the thought that at any rate we should not have done so. We know nothing at all. The seeds of every sin are latent in our hearts, even when renewed, and they only need occasion, or carelessness, or the withdrawal of God's grace for a season, to put forth an abundant crop. Like Peter, we think we can do wonders for Christ, and like Peter, we learn by bitter experience that we have no might and power at all. A humble sense of our own innate weakness, a constant dependency on the Strong for strength, a daily prayer to be held up, because we cannot hold up ourselves - these are the true secrets of safety" (emphasis in the original).


Post a Comment

<< Home