Loving Father, may I have the power to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.” Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down
your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you
will have denied me three times. Do not let your hearts
be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
If ever there were an unfortunate chapter division in our Bibles, it is right here in today’s Scripture. It is important to remember that neither the Bible’s chapter divisions, nor verse divisions, were in the original manuscripts. The divisions can be helpful for finding a passage and for citing it. It is helpful to be able to say, “Let’s turn in our Bibles to John 3:16.” We can all find it together.
Archbishop Stephen Langton (1150-1228) gets the credit for creating the chapter arrangement in our Bibles. The Wycliffe Bible of 1381 was the first Bible to use Langton’s chapter divisions, and they became standard in English Bibles and in other languages. Unfortunately, the place where Langton divides John 13 and 14 is not helpful as it disrupts the flow of Jesus’ thought.
Jesus’ words in chapter 13 must have hit His disciples like a bombshell. First Jesus tells them that one of them will betray Him. Then He tells them He is leaving them. Finally, He closes out chapter 13 announcing that Peter the Rock will deny Him three times before sunrise.
With these words Jesus has gone and shattered all of the disciple’s hopes and dreams for that Passover! They were not expecting this! They had literally left everything to follow Jesus. They were counting on Jesus to overthrow Rome so that they would soon be sitting on thrones and ruling and reigning with Him. But now that’s all forgotten, and the disciples are troubled.
It is now that Jesus seeks to calm and reassure upset disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” For a moment, just ignore the chapter division put here by Langton, and see how Jesus goes immediately from telling about Peter’s denial to comforting and assuring:
“Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’”
Yes, admittedly, one of Jesus’ closest disciples will deny Him, but don’t let this trouble you. Just keep on trusting in God and trusting in Jesus! I like how Eugene Peterson in The Message translates Jesus’ words: “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me” (John 14:1).
Whatever happens, we don’t let it throw us! We can calm troubled thoughts and feelings by trusting in Jesus. We focus not on our fickle feelings but on the firm, objective reality of God.
Perhaps today you are troubled by what is happening around you. Perhaps things are not going as you had hoped. Perhaps you are realizing you are not as loyal a follower of Jesus as you had thought. Hear Jesus’ words: “Don’t let this throw you! Trust me to always love you! Trust me to never let you down!” It’s about God and not about you!
Recently I saw a poster with the words: “Relax! I’ve got this! God.”
Relax! Don’t let anything throw you! Trust in God! Trust in Jesus! He’s got you covered!
- How have I experienced shattered dreams and expectations?
- How have I experienced disappointment in myself?
- What would it mean for me not to let this trouble me, but instead, to trust in Jesus?
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.
Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)