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The Blue Letter Bible

Chuck Smith :: Sermon Notes for John 13:36

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Intro. Jesus has just celebrated the Passover supper with His disciples. The supper is now over, and John gives us a little insight of the conversation that followed the dinner. There is a series of questions by the disciples and the answers of Jesus.
A. In verse 33, Jesus had said, "I will only be with you a little while longer, and where I am going you cannot come."
1. In the 7th chapter of John, Jesus said to the Jews, I will be with you just a little while longer then I'm going to Him that sent Me. You will seek Me but you will not find Me, for where I am going, you cannot come. Then the Jews said among themselves, "Where is He going that I cannot find Him? Is He going to those who are dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What is He talking about?"
2. The disciples were just as confused about what Jesus meant when He said that He was going away and where He was going they could not come, as were the Jews. In the next chapter Jesus will say to the disciples, "You know where I am going and you know the way." To which Thomas will respond, "We do not know where you are going, and how can we know the way?"
B. In verse two of the following chapter, Jesus answered the question Peter had asked, "Where are you going?" He said, "In My Father's house are many mansions, and I'm going to prepare a place for you that where I am, there you might be also." In verse 28 He said, "You have heard Me say that I am going away, and I will come again. If you loved Me, you would rejoice for I said that I was going unto My Father."
A. To this Peter replied, "Why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for You."
1. Peter is affirming His love and commitment to Jesus. "Lord, I love you so much. I will lay down my life for you."
2. Words are oftentimes cheap and easy. It is one thing to say it, and quite another thing to do it when the time comes.
3. I think of the many times I have said things to Jesus that in the emotion of the moment I really meant, but when it came right down to the place where the rubber meets the road, it became another story.
B. Now I think that it is good to get emotional about the Lord. I am in favor of making a commitment to Him. I think that it is good to express our love and total surrender to Him.
1. I can remember as a teenager singing, "I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all."
2. It is one thing to sing it, and quite another to do it.
3. I sang, "Not what I wish to be, or where I wish to go, for who am I that I should choose my way, the Lord shall choose for me, tis better far I know, so let Him bid me go or stay."
4. My commitment was stronger in words than in actual practice.
A. He took the words of Peter and gave them back to him in the form of a question.
B. He then predicted Peter's denial.
1. Jesus knew that when Peter was making this rash statement of his willingness to lay down his life for Jesus, that in reality before the sun would rise, Peter would deny three times that he even knew the Lord.
2. However, I do not hear harshness or condemnation in the voice of Jesus when He informs Peter of this fact, but contrariwise great tenderness.
3. Jesus knows the difficult test that Peter will face. Luke records that Jesus said to Peter, "Satan has desired you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you."
C. When we make our statements of devotion or commitment to the Lord, I wonder how many times He repeats back to us our words, as He knows that rather than standing for Him, or committing all to Him we will be failing under the pressure of the moment.
D. The thing I note and love is how gentle Jesus is with him in the light of what He knew about him.
1. He did not make a big issue over Peter's false boasting.
2. He did not tell Peter about his failure in a condemning way.
3. He was not harsh with Peter, just very matter of fact.
E. In fact in the next verse Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled."
1. I believe that this was directed to Peter in light of his failure.
2. Because it is the end of a chapter and the beginning of a new chapter, we often divide these words in our minds.
3. In the original Greek manuscripts, there were no breaks in the text. No chapter distinctions. So often when we come to the end of the chapter, we make a break in our minds.
4. Jesus also knew that Peter was going to have a troubled heart over his failure to stand in the time of testing.
5. We read that after his failure, he went out and wept bitterly.
F. All of us have made promises to Jesus that we have not kept.
1. Many times I have tasted the bitter tears of failure.
2. Satan likes to take advantage of these times to try to separate us from Jesus.
a. He would like us to think that Jesus is disgusted with us. He wants nothing to do with us anymore.
b. He would like us to believe that Jesus has rejected us because of our weakness and failure.
3. The truth of the matter is that Jesus is saying, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God believe also in Me."
a. You see we believed in ourselves.
b. Peter was boasting of his steadfastness to Jesus.
c. Jesus is basically saying, "Don't believe in yourself believe in Me. Don't trust in yourself, trust in Me."
d. Later in the evening He will say to Peter, "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
4. We must acknowledge that when the soldiers came into the garden to arrest Jesus, Peter drew his sword and tried to defend Jesus from arrest. He showed his willingness to lay down his life for Jesus.
5. It is interesting to me how that in the big tests we can come through with flying colors, but we often get tripped up in the small things.
a. I think that in the big things we know that we must rely on Him fully.
b. In the little things we often feel that we do not need His help that we are perfectly able to handle this ourselves.
c. Standing by the side of Jesus, Peter was willing to take on the whole band of soldiers, but he wilted before the question of a little maid.
G. Why do we make promises or vows to Jesus?
1. Usually we are seeking some benefit from Him. "Lord, if you will do this for me, here is what I will do for you."
2. Many times the vows are made right after failure on our part. "Lord, I will never do that again." We are seeking to remain in His good graces.
H. The problem is that He knows the future, He knows if we are going to fail or not, thus the promise never to do it again means nothing, if He knows that I will be doing it again before the day is over.
I. As I see it, to promise or to vow to the Lord is only to trust in my flesh.
1. I may mean it and be very sincere, but my flesh is weak.
2. So it is better not to vow, especially in hopes of receiving a favor from Him.
3. He is so loving that He grants us blessings and on the basis of His grace toward us in spite of our weakness and failure.
4. He prefers it that way so that when His blessings come, I am not patting myself on the back and saying, "What a good boy I am." He rather wants me to be saying, "What a good God I serve. Praise God from whom all blessings flow."
Sermon Notes for John 13:33 ← Prior Section
Sermon Notes for John 13:36 Next Section →
Sermon Notes for Luke 1:5 ← Prior Book
Sermon Notes for Acts 1 Next Book →
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