Today's verses are John 13:36-38: "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.'" My child, how I loved Simon Peter. His heart for me was huge. His love for me was great. There was no question about his devotion to me.
But he struggled in his flesh. He was profoundly impetuous. He would often say something before he'd thought it through. He had to battle this part of his personality for all his life. His emotions could easily sway him. That's why I jokingly once called him, "Simon bar Jonah," Simon son of John. The word for "John" was similar to the same word for a dove. A dove flies one direction, then quickly turns and flies in another, seemingly without thought or direction. That was Simon Peter.
Later, after my death, resurrection and the outpouring of my Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter once fudged on my gospel of grace. He was wrongly influenced by the Judaizers, Jews in the early church who thought new Gentile believers needed to be circumcised under the law. Peter stopped having fellowship with Gentile believers. Paul called him out publicly. Peter repented. Even after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter's personality could be easily and wrongly swayed!
Here, in the upper room, Peter asked me where I was going. I told him that where I was going he couldn't immediately come, but later would be. I was referring to heaven, my eternal home. He said he wanted to follow me now. He said he'd be willing to give his life for me!
He would have. But he was also being impetuous. He didn't know what he would soon face. He didn't fully understand the disappointment he would soon feel when I was arrested and nailed to the cross. He didn't know the feelings of hopelessness he would feel after my death. He didn't understand the antagonism, hatred, fury and persecution that would soon fall upon him and my other disciples from the religious authorities.
Knowing the future, I told him that soon a rooster would crow three times after he had betrayed me three times. In a similar vein, he would be like Judas. He would be tempted and fail. However, the outcomes of the two men would be dramatically different. Judas was in it for himself. That's what allowed his betrayal. The devil had entered him. There could be no repentance. Peter had momentary failures, but his heart was closely attached to mine. He would repent. He would receive my grace.
My child, please know that when you fail me that is not the final answer. Failure is only final when you choose to quit trying. Failure with me is only final when you choose not to return to me and receive my grace and forgiveness.
My grace is stronger than your sin. My grace forgave all Peter's sins. All you have to do is turn to me, confess it, and start anew.
Do so today. You can begin anew. Peter could. You can too.
You can trust me today.