Weekly Devotion – John 13:38

Published 8:42 am Sunday, January 9, 2022

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By Mike Caton

John 13:38, Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”

Peter has just reaffirmed his willingness to follow Jesus anywhere and to lay down his life for him. And, as we said before, Peter really means it. How often do we say things, and we really mean the things we say, but we have no idea how those events are going to play out. Even though Jesus has predicted his death, the disciple still don’t understand it. Peter is a committed follower of Jesus, he’s not perfect, but neither are we. But he sincerely says he is willing to follow Jesus to his death.

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And Jesus questions him. Really? Are you really willing to lay down your life for me? I wonder how often we say or at least think those words. Maybe it is about our spouse, a child, a parent or even a close friend. But deep down we know we will never be in a position to take a bullet for them. We know we really can’t switch places with them when they are sick or suffering. So, we feel pretty safe with that statement. But what about really living for them, about putting their needs and wants ahead of our own, about taking care of them when they have needs, maybe needs they don’t even realize. What about standing up for them in bad times? What about doing for them when it is uncomfortable for us? That is what true love is. True love might be spoken of in grandiose terms, but it is lived out in the normalcy of everyday life.

No doubt Peter is taken back when Jesus says he is about to deny him three times. There is a huge difference between dying for someone and admitting you know them. Jesus tells Peter he is about to deny him those three times before the rooster crows, before the morning. I wonder how often and how easily we deny Jesus. Maybe it is in ways we don’t even realize, little things we never really think about. And yet true love does think about those things, not to rub their noses in their failures, but to not make those mistakes ourselves. We think of love being in the heart, but it is really in the mind.
Father, help me truly love Jesus. In his name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works part time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.