“I will lay down my life for you!”
John 13:37 (NIV)
As a small boy I loved to help my Dad whenever he was fixing something around the house. Perhaps he was rewiring some electrical circuit, repairing something on the family car, or finishing off a room in the basement of our home. I just enjoyed being with him and asking all sorts of questions about why he did this or that in order to finish the job.
Dad never tired of my questions and explained everything in language that I could understand. At times, when I was trying to be helpful, I would lose my concentration and the light I was shining on the focus of our work would wander off target. My Dad would have to ask me to pay attention. Or I might spill all his tools out of the box when searching for the one he asked me to fetch. I was a clumsy helper on various occasions, but always welcome to be his assistant.
The statement in our verse today is a comment of Peter’s to Jesus. He was seeking to help Jesus on His mission but messed up rather badly. The situation occurred when Jesus explained to the apostles that He was leaving and they could not follow Him. Not knowing what lay ahead of Jesus they could not understand why they could not follow.
Peter, in his great love for Jesus, blurted out the words of our text. We admire the effort of Peter to express his loyalty to our Lord, but Peter was not yet at the stage of his life when he would “lay down” his life for Jesus. The irony of Peter’s statement on this occasion was that he would indeed lay down his life for his beloved Master. Peter just had the timing of the event wrong.
Sometimes we are so like Peter in our intended devotion to Jesus. We have a misguided sense that we are very strong spiritually and are able to withstand any temptation or tragedy that comes. We think ourselves invincible. Then a problem arises and we collapse or fold under the pressure of the situation.
Does the Lord Jesus quit? Does He walk away from us when we do not live up to the promises we have made to Him? What happens when we fall into some temptation or fail at some task for the Lord?
Well, we have Jesus help us just as He helped His chosen disciple, Peter. First, Jesus warned Peter about his future fall and second in the resurrection, Jesus had a private consultation with Peter to restore him. Jesus never ever gives up on anyone who belongs to Him. He restores with help from many places.
It may be a verse of Scripture, something said in a sermon, a phrase from a hymn, someone coming alongside us who has fallen in a similar manner, or some other means by which our Lord gives you encouragement. For those who are followers of Jesus, He will never finally disappear from your radar. He has pledged Himself to complete the good work He has begun in you. Do not worry about being clumsy or inept in your walk with Jesus, He comes to lift you up and get you restarted on the journey to His home.