“Lord, why can’t I follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
It can be easy to be brave when there is no immediate threat. Sometimes it is just bragging and sometimes it is sincere. There is probably an element of both in Peter’s statement.
It seems clear that He was really committed to the Lord. And he was no doubt disappointed to be told that he could not now go wherever Jesus was heading. So he expresses his attachment in the strongest possible terms – only to be told that he will fail to carry out his boast. And to give him his due he did follow the Lord right into the courtyard of the high priest’s house – only to end up denying his relationship with Jesus when questioned by those around him.
However, the glorious truth would later be revealed – that instead of rejecting Peter as unworthy the Lord re-affirmed and re-instated him. And this would be because, unlike Judas, Peter really did want to be the sort of person who would give up everything for his Lord – and his Lord knew it! What Peter was to learn was that laying down his life for the Lord had more to do with his living than his dying!
If you have ever wept over your failures and failings – if like Paul you have cried out –
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15)
then take encouragement from the fact that the Lord does not merely consider your actions but He knows your heart as well. And it is your heart that He wants most of all – for if we give Him our hearts then all things become possible.
Jesus very next words to Peter and the others, after predicting Petr’s denials, were astounding.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1)
He knew even then that they would all desert Him, but He also knew their hearts and that they would return. He knows your heart and He knows mine, far better than we know them ourselves, and so He asks us to just trust Him in all the ups and downs, the successes and failings, the joy and the pain, of our lives with Him.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
Look to the Lord at all times – He will never look away from you.
Lord Jesus, I really do want to trust You with all my heart all of the time – it’s just that I don’t trust me! Please help me to keep my focus on You even when I foul up. Amen.