“Lord,” Peter asked, “Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.
Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly I tell you, a rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times.”
John 13:37-38, CSV
Jesus knew. And he still loved him anyway. Can you really quantify the depth of this? Verse 37 claimed Peter’s willingness to follow, and even die if he had to. I believe with all my heart that Peter was sincere. He would follow, and Peter was willing to die.
But Jesus bought none of it. He knew exactly what was going to happen.
He poses a question to ‘Peter the bold’–it became the type of question that could penetrate Peter’s interior bravado. It’s said that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Perhaps this is true here. Maybe Jesus knew? (Or course He did.)
What about you? And me? Peter got it. He could tell us a thing or two. really know us to this degree and depth? When he looks at us, I believe he knows the weakness and faltering steps we all take, and yet his love for us is unconditional.
It doesn’t hinge on a misplaced zeal or faltering commitment. His love for us overrides our weakness. That comforts and disturbs me, and I don’t really understand how he does it. I love and trust God completely (or I’m learning to.)
Have you ever heard your rooster crow?
Maybe that’s His way to teach us the depths of His surprising love and mercy?
The once ashamed Peter would be restored and re-commissioned. “Feed my sheep,” was Jesus’ surprising commandment. That would be Peter’s new assignment.
We’re a people that have come to understand an unbelievable fact, we now believe in the forgiveness of sins. We are also dumbfounded by Jesus’ willingness to restore. That is no small thing.
Peter understood I think.
“Man has two great spiritual needs. One is for forgiveness. The other is for goodness.”