Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?"
Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward."
Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake."
Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.
[John 13:36-38 NKJV]
We all like to think that we are in control of things, that we have a say in the direction of our lives. Certainly we can make choices, but how informed are our choices? Judas made a choice, exercising what he thought was control over Jesus and the other disciples, but at this point in the story had yet to realise how his choice would play out. Jesus knew, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. [John 2:25 NKJV]
God uses our choices — good or ill — in His eternal plan, and does so because He knows us better than we know ourselves. We are His creation; creatures with the free will to make those choices which can take us to life or death. He prefers that we choose life; His life, and to leave the important choices up to Him.
Peter voiced his lack of understanding of what Jesus repeated about the outworking of choices made. "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward." Notice that this passage begins ‘Simon Peter said to Him,’ but when he responds to Jesus’ statement, he is described as ‘Peter’. The name Peter means ‘rock’; Simon is a form of Simeon, or ‘hearing’. When Peter replies with “Lord, why can I not follow you now?” he is not hearing, or rather, understanding what has been said to Him, so He impetuously responds with “I will lay down my life for your sake.”
Jesus says, “Will you … ?” and shows His discernment of Peter’s heart, by prophesying Peter’s denial of Him. This could be any one of us to whom Jesus asks “Will you lay down your life for my sake?” It is easy to respond “Yes, Lord. Yes!” and believe it in the moment, but it takes a daily determination to hand over the reins of our will to Him. He will make it our reality.
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GEORGE and GILL STEWART