FOLLOW THE LEADER: Session 30. Promises. Promises. Promises.

John 13: 36-38 (MsgB)

Simon Peter asked, “Master, just where are You going?” Jesus answered, “You can’t now follow Me where I’m going. You will follow later.” “Master,” said Peter, “why can’t I follow now? I’ll lay down my life for You!” “Really? You’ll lay down your life for Me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you’ll deny Me three times.”

I’ll lay down my life for You, Jesus.

Even if everyone else deserts You, Lord, I won’t.

I’ll be faithful to the end. You can count on me!

Really?

Hmm. I wonder how many times over the last two thousand years our Lord has heard phrases like these coming out of the mouths of us faithful followers of Christ?

Boisterous. Proud. Dynamic Human Beings.

Men and women who will lead God’s Kingdom to victory.

Men and women of the cloth who know full well the mind of God and the grand purposes of His Kingdom.

Never mind checking in with the Father. We did that back in seminary and now, because of the ordination given me by my people, I will march into hell, drive back the demons and push the Kingdom forward for my name’s sake. (Cough). I mean HIS name’s sake!

Come on, folks.

Can’t we learn anything from Peter’s lesson here? Aren’t these stories in the New Testament written for every generation to read and interpret for our own lives?

If so, I’m guessing the Lord might be rolling His eyes again as He sees some of the goofy stuff and boisterous claims being made today by us ‘effective and successful leaders’. I mean, just the fact that our bookshelves are bursting to the brim with proud declarations of how we human beings can ‘lead successfully’ for God should tell us that there just might be a bit of proud old Peter running around in today’s churches.

I’m wondering if Jesus might actually prefer to hear a few more of us responding to His lordship like the poor guy standing in front of Jesus looking for healing for his broken son (see Mark 9: 17-24)?

As I see it, here we find a much more honest statement that truly embraces where most of us really are most of the time! How refreshing it might be, for example, if Peter might have used this line: “Lord, I believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.”

Hmm. Sure sounds a lot better than that b.s. Peter tried to pull on Jesus back in 33 AD.

I’ll lay down my life for You, Jesus.

Yeah, right, Pete.

And I bet you also have a bridge in Brooklyn you’d like to sell…

My prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I’m boisterous, proud and, quite honestly, obnoxious with my faith. Let me learn from my friend, Peter, who had to learn the hard way, that big, self-centered promises conceived out of my fleshly ideas are just that. Deliver me, Father, from myself. For Your name’s sake.

My questions to ponder: So how many times this week have I been like Peter of old? Making promises I can’t keep? Speaking words I can’t follow through on? Telling Jesus that I’m faithful to the end only to find out that my faith can’t make it through the next pothole? How can I step off my soapbox and let humility and honesty be my calling card?

So what is God speaking to you today? Are you practicing the Kingdom presence of God?

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