Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.”
To God, we surely seem like small children. We may have the best of intentions, but we simply don’t understand our own weakness. Recently, my four-year-old granddaughter earnestly assured her mother that she could drive—she knew how! She has observed, and it doesn’t really look very hard. What she may not realize, perched in her car seat in the back, is that there’s another part of the operation that is hidden from her view—the pedals on the floor! And even if she does know the whole process, her sixteen-year-old aunt can testify that driving is a bit more complicated than it looks.
Jesus may have looked at Peter with the same fond skepticism that we use when a four year old discusses driving. Peter was earnest, he felt that he was prepared for battle, and he would gladly follow his Lord to the death.
What he didn’t realize was that the battle would be a much different one than he expected. Instead of a battlefield blazing with swords and shields, his Master was quietly arrested in the dark of night as a criminal. And Peter wasn’t at all prepared for that! He felt strong when he made his declaration of loyalty, but realized afterward how very weak he actually was. He did indeed deny that he knew Jesus, repeatedly.
Without the filling power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are never equipped for what lies ahead. We can’t anticipate the things we will face, so we cannot completely prepare for them.
With God’s power in our lives, though, we are fully equipped, because He knows exactly what will happen and precisely how to best meet the challenge. Let’s not become too sure of our own strength, but pray for God to fill us instead. In John 14, Jesus repeatedly says, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me.” That illustrates exactly what we need—to be in Christ, and to be filled with His power so that we are ready. Good intentions are great, but being truly prepared for whatever may come…that is much better.
Let the Holy Spirit fill me
As a hand inside a glove,
Causing me to do His bidding
For His purpose, in His love.
If you ever feel that you can handle this one on your own, remember that, to God, you’re probably a lot like a four-year-old. Just let God drive.