A few years back, we acquired a foosball table at Austin Ridge’s Southwest Campus to help build community among our kids and students. I loved playing foosball growing up and remembered being pretty good, so I started talking smack to two of my work colleagues. The problem is that I greatly overestimated my abilities. Or to put it another way, I greatly underestimated my inabilities. After losing three out of four games, I realized I am a much weaker player than I thought, and certainly weaker than I am willing to admit. In today’s passage, we see how Peter grossly underestimated his inability to follow Jesus.
- What are some ways that you have failed to follow Jesus?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 13:31-38 (ESV)
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
36 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.”37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 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.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 36-38. Verses 31-35 were covered previously.)
- What was Jesus’ answer to Peter’s questions of “Where are you going?” and “Why can I not follow you now?”
- Why was where Jesus was going such a big deal?
- What was Peter’s confidence (to go where Jesus was going) based on?
- What was Jesus’ response to Peter’s claim that he would lay his life down for Jesus?
- In what ways have you directly or indirectly denied Jesus?
RESPOND TO GOD
Peter had a genuine love and affection for Jesus and was freaking out because Jesus was talking about being betrayed and going where they couldn’t go. Peter wanted the rest of the disciples to know that he was not going to betray Jesus. He did not want to be separated from Jesus and thought he would do whatever it took to follow Jesus. But Peter grossly underestimated his inability to follow Jesus.
- Admit to Jesus the specific ways you have failed to follow him.
- Thank God for the irony in this story—that instead of Peter laying his life down for Jesus, Jesus is the one who laid his life down for Peter (and for you).