But Why Can’t I Come Now, Lord?
John 13:36 (NLT)
Jesus had spent three-and-a-half years discipling Peter, yet Peter didn’t even know where Jesus was going. Peter wasn’t alone (John 14:5). The information was present, but it seems he lacked the ability to connect the dots and put all the teaching Jesus had given him together in any practical way that would affect his understanding. All of this changed when Peter was baptized in the Holy Spirit. Peter became a mighty man of faith and power with supernatural understanding. What a testament as to the life-changing power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was headed back to His Father. For Jesus, that journey would be through death, resurrection, and then ascension back to His Father. Peter would someday follow Jesus in death and go directly into the presence of His Father to wait on the resurrection day (2 Corinthians 5:8).
“But why can’t I come now, Lord?” he asked. “I’m ready to die for you.”
John 13:37 (NLT)
Jesus had made statements like this before to the Pharisees (John 7:34), and Peter had had time to think about what Jesus was saying. He suspected Jesus was speaking of death, so he made the bold proclamation that he was willing to follow Jesus even into death (also in Matthew 26:35, Mark 14:31, and Luke 22:33). This revealed Peter’s love for Jesus, but it also showed a lack of understanding his own weaknesses.
In our enthusiasm, it is easy to make promises, but God knows the extent of our commitment. Paul tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Rom 12:3). Instead of bragging, demonstrate your commitment step by step as you grow in your knowledge of God’s Word and in your faith.
Jesus answered, Die for me? I tell you the truth, Peter—before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.
John 13:38 (NLT)
Jesus’ prophecy about Peter’s denials didn’t cause the denials; they simply revealed what Jesus knew Peter was going to do.
There are some amazing insights into the faith of Jesus in this chapter. Jesus prophesied the denial of Peter and the betrayal of Judas. These were men whom Jesus loved, and He had invested much effort into discipling them. At His greatest hour of need, they would forsake Him. As it turned out, all the disciples forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:50). Jesus was left to suffer alone. This would have crushed an ordinary man.
And even if Jesus was able to put His personal hurts and rejection aside, how must this have affected His thinking about the future of His church. The men who were considered the foundation of His church (Ephesians 2:20) were all cowards. It was just a matter of days until Jesus would ascend back to His Father in heaven and turn His whole kingdom over to these men. If the rejection didn’t destroy you, the thought of such incompetence would.
Yet, Jesus’ faith in His Father was so strong that He broke out in praise unto God. His discourse to His disciples immediately after this (John 14-16) reveals the way Jesus had such faith and instructs us in how to operate in that same faith.