Updated: Feb 13, 2022
“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.” 37 Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right 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, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” John 13:36-14:1
We see it all the time, preached in church and in different places. This passage is a “go-to” passage about heaven, but it’s nestled within a context that tells a little story about what grace is really all about. Let's look at John Chapter 13 and what is happening in this scenario, Jesus is breaking the bad news to his disciples.
He's going to the cross. He's going to die. He is leaving them shortly, and they're not understanding what he's saying. They begin to become afraid. The following conversation takes place at the end of John 13.
Peter chimes in to begin to try and understand what is happening through his own human logic and he says, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus answered, “Where I go. You cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.”
Peter says to Jesus, “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 have denied me 3 times. Jesus makes an excellent point there. Let's apply this to how we see our commitment to Jesus in this day and age.
You hear a great sermon in church and it's all about these strategies of keeping principles and rules to prove your love for, your commitment to, and laying your life down for Jesus. Our church system is driven by decisions.
It’s preached all the time, “Make a ‘decision’ for Jesus”!
When we go to the altar and say, I lay down my life for you, It seems like Jesus would say, "You're going to lay down your life for me? Before lunchtime today you will already have broken your promise to me. You're not going to keep the decision that you made, you're going to fail."
Jesus didn't, and doesn't take our failure to match up to His standard lightly. That is why He came and rescued us from our poor performance. He went somewhere we couldn't in order to do something we couldn't, to obtain something for us we couldn't obtain for ourselves. He gave His life because of our failure. Quit trying to impress Jesus with your commitment when your commitment is why He went to the cross. Instead, celebrate His grace inspite of your failure. That's the Gospel perspective!
There is no bad news in the good news of the Gospel for the person who ceases from His works and rests in the finished work of Jesus Christ for everything.
Jesus gives the answer as an alternative to us opening our mouth and committing to something we can’t do, or don’t even understand. Jesus has something else to say to Peter in regard to his commitment and the future failure that will inevitably happen because of his pride.
The conversation between Jesus and His disciples continues like this:
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1
So, when we commit ourselves to Jesus on the basis of our own performance, He looks at us and says your commitment is not enough. If you want to impress God with your commitment, you're going to have to do it perfect, and you can't fail.
Let Jesus speak to you:
“Let me comfort you. I'm not going to fail. You don't even have to commit. Just trust me, believe in me."
In John chapter six, they asked him, what can we do to do the works of God?
What did Jesus say?
"Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:29
There are two commandments of the New Covenant. That's it. They are: believe in Jesus and love as he loved.
"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23
Of all these things this is the sum: trust Jesus. When we believe Jesus, and rest in Him we naturally produce the fruit of Jesus in our lives. He is in you. He loves you. He wants to express himself through you. And he will do that. Just trust him.