March 5, 2020
To the Cross, to the Glory
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 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!”(John 13:36-38).
Have you ever wondered why you follow Christ and who it is really for? Is it really for Jesus or for ourselves? Something with which I regularly challenge myself and others is to constantly reflect on and re-examine our daily walk with Christ. We live in a world where pride and worldly values (which are contrary to God’s) are prevalent and thriving.
Jesus came to fulfil the prophesies of the Old Testament: Jesus is the promised Messiah and he must die. It wasn’t exactly a secret ─ Jesus had been confirming this throughout his ministry for those who had the eyes to see and ears to hear. So then one would expect the disciples, especially Peter who had been following Jesus diligently, to have understood where Jesus was headed.
When we look at the other disciples, they weren’t any better. They weren’t interested in Jesus’ plan. They had different ideas about Christ. Rather than seeing things from Jesus’ point of view, they were fighting with each other over who would be seated beside him on the throne and what they could gain from being close to him. They didn’t truly understand what Jesus had been saying all along either. And interestingly, it was Peter who assuredly said that he would be willing to lay down his life for Jesus, and to follow him wherever that might lead.
However, Jesus, who is all-knowing and who sees into everyone’s hearts, cautioned Peter to think about what he had promised. Jesus knew that Peter might have had the desire to follow, but would ultimately, when it came to the crunch, be ashamed of him. He would deny knowing him in order to save his own life. Peter and the other disciples all put their own glory and self ahead of God’s glory until they realised the sacrifice Jesus had made for them.
Sometimes, I pray for the missionaries who go to serve in dangerous places even though they know that this puts them at high risk of death for sharing the gospel. They are not foolish. They truly knowwhat Jesus’ blood meant for them. They knowwhere they will ultimately go. They have the faith ofJesus. They serve on the mission field with gratitude and joy, share the love of Jesus, and give hope to those who are yet to be enlightened by the gospel.
So, let’s examine our hearts and ask ourselves, whether we really know what it means to follow Jesus. Is it a lifestyle choice or life itself? Are we like Peter before the rooster crowed three times or afterwards when he laid down his life for Jesus? Will you lay down your life for Jesus?