John 13.31-38 — Jesus Predicts Peter’s denial

When you know you’re going to die soon, you say the most important things you can say to the people who are most important to you. This is where we find Jesus at this moment. He has only a short time to say important things to the people who will carry on his work.

Judas has left the room, and we sense a distinct change of atmosphere. The betrayer has gone, and now Jesus is left alone with his true followers. “The time for my death (glory) is upon me, and God will be more glorified by this than by anything else I have done.” Jesus’ teachings are not what changed history and changes lives; his death and resurrection are what accomplish that.

Jesus tells them what is most important: “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Make the deliberate choice to selflessly and sacrificially serve others for their benefit. “This is how people will know you are a follower of me—not because you go to church, read your Bible, pray, and act religious, but because you love each other.”

Peter is still confused. “Are you leaving us? Where are you going?”

“You can’t come where I’m going, but you will later.”

Peter said, “Why can’t I come now? You know I would die for you.” Peter has so much confidence in himself, and he thinks he can handle what is around the corner. He thinks he won’t fall to temptation, that he’ll be bold and strong, and that he will defend his master. Little does he know he will fold up like a fearful child. His life is full of denials: Jesus, you WON’T go to Jerusalem. Jesus, I’ll NEVER betray you. Jesus, I’ll DIE for you. He loves Jesus, of course, and he is a bold man, but he’s human nonetheless. Jesus doesn’t shield him: “Seriously? You’ll fight and die for me? You’ll be in the ring tonight, and you’ll lose to a servant girl.”

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