Tuesday, May 22, 2012

John 13:36-38

We come to the end of Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before His death. As we began this chapter we noted that Jesus loved His disciples “unto the end.” He demonstrated it for them by humbling Himself and washing their feet, knowing that one had betrayed Him, one would deny Him that very night, and all would fall away. We’re going to first look at the different versions of the synoptic gospels recounting of this scene, beginning with Matthew’s:

Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: 
“‘I will strike the shepherd,

    and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” (Matthew 26:31-32)

Somehow all of them miss that last statement about His resurrection! :)

Luke tells us that Jesus warns Peter while attempting to encourage him at the same time. Again, Peter doesn’t hear the last part:

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

I think Mark records the boldness of Peter the best:

Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” 

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” 

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same. (Mark 14:29-31)

The love Jesus shows His disciples here is amazing! They will let him down - and, in the case of Judas, actually betray Him, leading to His crucifixion, yet He loves them to the end! His grace is so beyond what we can fathom. His love is so deep that Paul tells us NOTHING - not even our biggest failures or our vilest sins - will separate us from the love He has for us. (Romans 8:38-39)

Do you have trouble believing that? Are you convinced down deep that you are not worthy and that surely, if Jesus really knew about you, there is no way He could love you? Well, the fact is that you are NOT worthy - none of us is! He DOES know ALL about you - more than you know about yourself. He knows all about the darkest crud in the deepest parts of your heart. Yet, He died for YOU to bring YOU into a righteous relationship with God! Talk about amazing grace!

I so relate with impulsive Peter here! He had all of the enthusiasm and intention to follow Christ to the very end. Yet that would not be enough to keep him from falling. Don’t you LOVE that Jesus tells Peter that He is praying for him? Guess what! He’s interceding for you, too! We will fail Christ so many times on a daily basis! Yet He loves us to the end! What a Savior!

Tomorrow we will begin one of the most exciting chapters as we see Jesus encourage the disciples, who are dejected after hearing that Jesus is about to leave them.  

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