Why Can't I Follow You?
March 31, 2022
Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now?” Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 14:27-28; John 13:36-37).
This conversation between Peter and Jesus reveals many of the struggles we have in our mind, heart, and spirit as we wrestle with eternal truths. First and foremost is our struggle with the sovereign plan of God. Peter still could not grasp the fact that Jesus was going to die. Having confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16), he could not understand how it could be that men could stand against Jesus and kill Him. He could not understand how the promises of God regarding the Messiah and His Kingdom given in the Old Testament could go unfulfilled. He could not understand how the ministry of the Messiah could not continue on uninterrupted. But it was God’s plan.
Where are you going? reveals Peter’s frustration. Surely Jesus was beyond the power of death. He raised people from death to life again. Again and again He thwarted the attempts of the Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees to be rid of Him. Even the power of Satan was no match for the power of Jesus. Who could touch Him? Who could harm Him? It must be that Jesus is not going to die, but leaving them for some faraway place out of their reach. Where are you going? and, Why can I not follow you now? Because it was God’s plan.
It also reveals the love Peter had for Jesus. Wherever Jesus was, that’s where Peter wanted to be. He could not imagine his life now without Jesus. It was more than a kindred love - the love of Jesus for Peter and Peter’s love for Jesus radically changed his life; it had become his life. To live outside the presence of the Lord was unthinkable. Later on he would follow Jesus down the path that leads to sacrifice, martyrdom, and resurrection to eternal life, but not now. It was God’s plan.
God’s sovereign plan is something we all struggle with - knowing it, accepting it, following it. The tension between our will and God’s will is difficult to deal with at times. Following Jesus in a world where Satan is lord and in a culture that is increasingly anti-Christ is exasperating. But because God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), we too, like Peter, have come to love Jesus with a love that is all-consuming; we cannot live without Him, we want to be where He is. And so we cry out with the Apostle John, Come, Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20). This too is God’s plan that will be fulfilled one day, very soon. Amen.