“Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.”
John 13 v36-38, ESV
Why can’t Peter follow now?
In his mind, Peter is ready to give it all for Jesus, but Peter had missed something key:
Peter still needed to grow in understanding and faith.
Peter’s commitment was sincere but motivated by human understanding, not obedience to God. He sought to act in his own strength, not through God’s grace.
Peter’s timing was not God’s timing. Jesus had already said that Peter would follow Him later (v36). It wasn’t God’s plan for Peter to follow now. Jesus had to go ahead, to prepare the way.
What can we learn from Peter?
As lawyers, others often look to us to lead, take on key roles and serve within church, work and community life. In considering opportunities, it’s useful to pause and reflect:
How is our own relationship with God?
Are we seeking to serve in our own strength or as prompted through God’s leading?
If God’s calling to serve is true, is now also God’s timing?
God’s bigger picture
Peter’s desire was to honour Jesus. Subsequently we see Peter forgiven, his relationship with God restored, and sent out, playing a key role in spreading the gospel. At this time, Jesus also alludes to Peter’s ultimate death in service for Christ. (John 21 v15-19).
Like Peter, let us eagerly desire to serve Christ well, but trust God for His plans, and His timing for us.
1) Bring your plans and desires before God and commit them into the hands of the sovereign God.