A Life of Trust
In my early 20s I had an unreliable car that broke down regularly. On one such occasion I began pushing it to a gas station, and had to get it up the incline at the entrance. As I approached, I ran as fast as possible while pushing a car. To my surprise, it easily rolled up the incline. I was rather impressed with my prowess until I turned around to see the police car with a push-bumper that had been providing pretty much all the power to move me forward.
I foolishly believed in my own ability to move my car. In this passage, Peter trusted in his own abilities to follow Jesus rather than in the mighty power of Jesus Himself.
We are to trust God rather than our own abilities. (36–14:1)
Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial of Him is probably the most referenced part of this passage. It is a striking indictment of Peter’s upcoming failure. What often gets missed is Peter’s insistence that he could follow Jesus wherever He was going. Peter states his belief that he has the ability to do whatever Jesus does. It is almost as if Peter is saying not only that he has the ability to follow Jesus anywhere, but he is also worthy of following Jesus anywhere.
Jesus informs Peter of his upcoming denial not to shame him, but to let him know that he has neither the ability nor the right to follow Jesus to the cross, at least not right now.
Jesus made it possible for us to be with God the Father. (2–3)
These are some of the most comforting words Jesus ever spoke. So much has been written about the rooms in the Father’s house. Are they mansions? Are they temporary dwelling places? But Jesus’ point is not to describe what heaven is like — it is to let us know that we have a place awaiting us. Not only is there a place, but one that has been prepared for us by Jesus Himself!
Trying to describe heaven from a human point of reference would be more difficult than trying to describe pink to someone who was born blind.
Jesus doesn’t need to describe the place for us. Because we trust Him with our lives, we also can trust that He is telling the truth about our place in heaven and that it will be perfect for us.
Jesus told Peter in the previous verses that he would not be able to follow. Now Jesus tells Peter that He will send for him and bring him to the place He is going.
Trusting Jesus is the only way to God the Father. (4–6)
How can we know that Jesus will do for us as He promised to do for Peter? First, Thomas enters the conversation as does Philip shortly afterward. Second, because we have trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord.
In today’s pluralistic world so many believe all religions lead to God, viewing them as spokes on a wheel all leading to the hub. Jesus repudiated that belief. He is the only way to come to know God and to be with Him forever. Without Jesus, it is impossible to spend time with God the Father, in this world or in the next.
By Daryl Watts
Watts is a church consultant in Fresno, California.