“Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” -Jesus to Peter in John 13:36 ESV
Peter loved Jesus. He dropped everything to follow him and never looked back. They ate, slept, prayed, and walked on water together. It’s so much more than any of us have done. Peter witnessed the healing in His words and hands. He saw Him loved, rejected, worshipped, and lied about. In all that they had been through, it didn’t make sense that he couldn’t go with Jesus where ever he went. Things weren’t clear just yet.
“Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” -Peter to Jesus in John 13:37 ESV
In the same conversation where Jesus told Peter that he would go with Him ‘afterward’, Jesus also told Peter that he would betray Him. And Peter, as much as he loved Jesus, betrayed Him big time. He denied knowing who He was as the people were beating him up and dragging Him off to beat Him up some more.
“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.” -Jesus to Peter in John 13:38 ESV
You can know that you’re going to deny Jesus in some way, but not really believe it. We all know we’ll mess up, but …not really. You love Him, so you wouldn’t purposely withhold your devotion or feed your good intent to the dogs. But, when the moment comes and you make a quick decision, that decision ends up marking you as a betrayer. The rooster crows and the sinking panic of being “that guy” sets in.
This is where Peter is different than a lot of us. He knew that Jesus saw his betrayal coming, but He never said that Peter would be lost forever. Peter was never with Jesus again. Jesus died after the mob was finished with Him. Peter knew something that ended up giving him the ability to recover from his betrayal, start the Christian church, and be reunited with Jesus after his death.
I want you to know what Peter knew so that you can recover from your sin, so that you can get back in the fight, and so that you can be assured that you’ll be united with Jesus after your death.
Jesus knew about your sin long before you even got here. Proof of that is not only in His conversation with Peter, but more so in the fact that He died for your sin. You didn’t just make it up. You’re not some anomaly that tears at the truth of the Gospel. God’s not wringing His hands, wondering how He can save you.
Sandwiched between your love for Jesus and your eternity in Heaven is your betrayal. It’s a horrible, bitter thing to experience, but don’t ever let your faith in the finished work of Jesus dwindle so scarce that you don’t think His sacrifice was enough for you.
Jesus knew all about you. He carried it with Him like a splintery cross on a ripped open back. The thing that gave Him the strength to carry your weight was the fact that He knew you would never have to. He kept walking because He knew it would work.
Remember that every time you think His arms are too short to reach the depths to where you’ve fallen. Every aspect of our existence is His territory. He owns those depths.