John 13:36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”
Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
38 Then 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!
Big Idea: Christ seldom asks that we lay down our life for him, but he always asks that we live for him.
Many men tend to think in life and death terms. Everything is a hill worth dying on. LeBron James is either the greatest basketball player ever or he’s the worst. Peter was one of those guys. Jesus told Peter that he wouldn’t be able to follow him (implying that he was going to die). Peter responded that he would lay down his life for Jesus.
In this moment, I believe that Peter really meant it. A few short hours later, Peter would pull out his sword and attack a group of Roman soldiers. He really was ready to die for Christ. But all that does is show how little Peter understood what Jesus most wanted from him. Jesus wanted him to love and serve others faithfully, day in and day out.
But the most wonderful thing about his whole exchange was the fact that Jesus still loved him.
Application: In seminary we had a class on church counseling. The professor discussed the main ways that people react to childhood events. If someone grows up with an angry abusive parent, they are most likely to cope with that in a few specific ways. Much of which was common sense and we had seen a lot of it in the lives people we knew. But the professor went on to discuss how people react to ideal childhoods. Even with the perfect parents leading them in the most godly manner, people often still choose to either take it for granted or reject it altogether.
This was pretty discouraging for a bunch of guys, many of whom were new dads. No matter what they did, their little newborn at home might still grow up to reject the truth of the Gospel and even reject them as parents! The professor had personally gone through this experience with one of his daughters turning her back on the Gospel and with their family altogether. Only in recent months had she opened up to spending some time with the family again.
The professor said that while this was discouraging for us, the future was still unknown. But for God, it isn’t. God knows exactly and intimately every sin we are going to commit. Every rejection of his plan and will. He knows every petty and prideful thought before we think it. And he still loves us anyway. Here is Jesus, knowing exactly what Peter is about to do even before Peter can comprehend himself doing it. And he still washed his feet. He still takes him to pray.
Jesus isn’t surprised by your sins. He loves you despite your sins. To show your love, and your growth, we need to live for Jesus. Fully in the freedom knowing that he knows us better and more intimately than we know ourselves and he still loves us. He still chose us to serve him. So let’s get out there and live for him today!