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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“Simon Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.’”—John 13:36 (NKJV)
In many ways, Peter is a precursor for us. Let’s face it, he’s done all of us an immense service by saying and doing the things that we would have said and done if we were there living alongside the Lord. He expresses what everyone is secretly thinking, including us.
We get a great example of that here in John’s Gospel as he asks Jesus to clarify a statement He’d previously made that He was going to leave them and go someplace where they couldn’t follow Him (John 13:33).
Keep in mind: Peter and the rest of the disciples had been following Jesus pretty much everywhere for the better part of the past three years. So it was odd to hear Him say that He was going somewhere that would be “off limits” to them. Peter naturally asks, “Where are you going?”
Now, Peter was thinking in earthly geographic terms. But we know that Jesus was operating on an entirely different level. He was foreshadowing His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. And when you read through the Gospel accounts, you see that it was quite common for Jesus to speak of heavenly things; all the while His disciples were bogged down in the earthly. In many ways, Christ’s life was a continual exercise in getting His followers to redirect their focus from earth to heaven.
But we mustn’t miss the promise Jesus gives to Peter: “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.” Despite his spiritual confusion, Christ gave Peter a guarantee . . . the most important guarantee that someone could ever receive: the guarantee of going to heaven.
Peter is a precursor for us, and not just in the sense that he said and did what we would have done, but also in the sense that he was given the guarantee of all guarantees. We, too, have been given the guarantee of going to heaven, but not because we have a perfect understanding of all things spiritual.
Like Peter, we frequently find ourselves bogged down in the perspective and cares of this world. Jesus frequently needs to redirect our gaze heavenward. But this doesn’t prevent Him from assuring us that, even though our understanding now may be incomplete, we will be with Him afterward.
DIG: How is Peter a precursor for us?
DISCOVER: What does Jesus’ response in John 13:36 reveal regarding heaven? How might God use Peter’s example to encourage you?
DISPLAY: Ask the Lord to redirect your focus on the things of heaven and His kingdom; away from fleeting earthly desires and issues.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.