Hi, Friends! Since "exciting" things only come around so often, I have decided to take the opportunities on Wednesdays to give you a quick little devotional read. I'm hoping that I can keep them brief, and that it will be something (especially for busy moms) that you can ponder as you go about the busyness of your day. God's word is alive and active-sharper than any two-edged sword, and I'm convinced that if I read the same passage 50 times, I'd get 49 new lessons than I got the first time. So, feel free to leave comments on what YOU get out of the same passage!
Last week, in our Young Life group, I led a lesson on all of John Chapter 13. WHEW! Yep. We're going through John, and we've been shooting for a chapter a WEEK! I won't go through all of 13 today, but just verses 33-38, so pick up your Bible, and let's GO!
Jesus just gave His disciples their Passover meal. They're still sitting at the table, and Jesus tells them He's only going to be with them for a little bit longer, and He lets them know that they can't come where He's going. What?! Can't come? But, we've been with you for three years, straight, and WE LIKE YOU!
Ever stop and think that Jesus NEVER tells us that? He never says, "Where I'm going, you CAN'T GO"! He promises us, "I am with you always, even to the ends of the earth"! But, at that time, the disciples COULD NOT follow Jesus. Although, we know that each of His disciples except John eventually would be martyred for their faith.
Instead, Jesus replied that they must "love one another." That, "all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." That's a pretty powerful message. That, if we want the whole world to KNOW Jesus, that we have to LOVE ONE ANOTHER! How HARD that is to carry out, too! Why would anyone want to have anything to do with Jesus if, in following Him, their relationships and their lives are no different?! I see people come to Jesus through other people. For example, I came to Jesus through my relationship with my dear friend, Elizabeth! My husband, Dallas, through his relationship with Elizabeth's husband, Stewart. We began to know God as a loving God because THEY LOVED US!
Notice Peter's next comment immediately following is this: "Lord, where are you going?" Um, PETER! Did you just MISS all that stuff about Loving one another?! I think about Tate. I'm talking to him at dinner last night. He's looking at his Easter basket...dreaming of the goodies that he can have for dessert. He heard NOTHING I said. I wonder if Peter was off in la-la land wondering what Jesus was talking about when He said, "Where I am going, you cannot come" instead of listening to the wisdom that would follow.
So, Jesus tells Peter that he can't come NOW, but that he WILL follow later, and later Peter DID end up dying on a cross as well, although he was cruxified upside down because he did not consider himself worthy of dying like the Messiah.
Peter's reply: "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Peter meant what he said. After all, he had already left his family, his job, his boat, his livelihood!
Jesus then drops the BOMB! "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!" OUCH! Imagine your BEST FRIEND telling you this! Jesus didn't tell Peter he'd disown Him once or twice, but THREE times! This, right after Peter told Jesus he'd lay down his life for Him! So, I ask, what would you lay down for Jesus? Would you give of your time, your money, your resources? Would you lay down your very life? Where would you draw the line? Are you "too busy," like the rest of the world, to serve Him...to reach out to your neighbor...to have that young couple over for dinner...to mentor that young mom? Would you boldly claim to the Almighty that you would "lay down your life"?
So, after Jesus tells Peter that he would disown Him, we find from Matthew's account of this story, that Peter does a little "talking back." Matt 26: 35-"But Peter declared,'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And all the other disciples said the same."
I'm asking us ALL to do a gut check here! We call ourselves Christians. We say we love Jesus, but when push comes to shove, will we REALLY FOLLOW HIM? Will we obey? After all, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will OBEY WHAT I COMMAND"!!