John 13.37-38 cont.
37 Peter said to Him: “Lord, why am I not able to follow You yet? I will lay down my life for You.”
38 Jesus replied: “Will you really lay down your life for Me?” In all sincerity I say to you that the rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.”
Jesus asked Peter if he would really lay his life down for Him. He was getting Peter to look at himself and to examine whether, in the heat of the moment, he would be prepared to face death.
Perhaps this is a question we have all asked ourselves.
In the West we are reasonably comfortable in living our day to day life free from the pressures of persecution. We know that in this country there are those who have had to make a stand for the righteous ways of Jesus. Registrars who have faced disciplinary action because they have refused to conduct same sex marriages. Then there have been others who have faced disciplinary action because they were wearing a cross, or they have offered to pray with a work colleague.
Yet this is light in comparison for many followers of Jesus in the Middle East, and other parts of the world, who have been thrown out of their homes, some being beheaded. Many have seen their homes and churches destroyed.
It is only when we face similar situations that we will know the answer to the question that Jesus asked Peter.
Jesus confronts Peter with the prophetic words that he would deny that he had anything to do with Jesus. These must have sent a chill down the spine of Peter. Could it be possible that he, who had boldly declared that Jesus is the Christ, would be able to say that he never knew Him?
We do not know what we are going to do or say. However, Jesus does know. He knows how we are going to respond in any given situation. He has also said that we must not worry about this:
11 Whenever you should be brought before councils, rulers and authorities don’t be anxious as to how to defend yourself or what you should say.
12 For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that hour what you must say – Luke 12.11-12.
This is a great advantage that Peter did not have at the time, since the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out upon them.
In those times of testing that we face let us be re-assured of the presence of the Holy Spirit to teach us what to say and how to act.
Also let us know that the reality of the Holy Spirits’ presence will be realized by all those who are now facing persecution.