Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’ll go to jail for you. I’d die for you!”
Jesus said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.”
Then Jesus said, “When I sent you out and told you to travel light, to take only the bare necessities, did you get along all right?”
“Certainly,” they said, “we got along just fine.”
He said, “This is different. Get ready for trouble. Look to what you’ll need, there are difficult times ahead. Pawn your coat and get a sword. What was written in Scripture, “he was lumped in with the criminals,” gets its final meaning in me. Everything written about me is now coming to a conclusion.”
I feel more than a little like Peter right now. I have been to some amazing places with Jesus. I have experienced how sweet it is just to be with Him, no matter what is swirling around in the world beyond the perimeter of His presence. I have been debased, as Paul said, and yet realized what it is to be found by One who loves me to death (literally!) and back. I have gotten close to Him, so close that I’ve wondered how I could ever be hair-brained enough to run from Him…
And then it hits me again — my relentless obsession with my sin-stained endeavor to love just myself – no one else, no one less. I know, it stinks. I wish to death that I wasn’t like this; and since that’s what it takes, I guess that’s a good thing. My loving Father is just getting me ready for more mortification of my flesh — the kind with no mask, no controls. It all has to go. I hat this. I would sorely like to believe that I am good on my own; that Jesus and I are going places, but there is nowhere that Jesus and I can go, not unless we are to be one: I in him and he in me. There really is no place for me in the gospel so big that Christ was not meant to ruin that place with His own righteousness; righteousness so freely given that God might diminish the weakness of my spiritual endeavors in the fullness of Christ. And there I find freedom. Hope. Salvation…that truly all I want is more of Him.
Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said: “Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendor of your Son so the Son in turn may show your bright splendor. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life: That they may know you, the one and only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very splendor, the very splendor I had in your presence before there was a world.
“I spelled out your character in detail to the men and women you gave me. They were yours in the first place, then you gave them to me, and they have now done what you said. They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that everything you gave me is firsthand from you, for the Message you gave me, I gave them; and they took it and were convinced that I came from you. They believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I’m not praying for the God-rejecting world, but for those you gave me, for they are yours by right. Everything mine is yours, and yours mine, and my life is on display in them. For I’m no longer going to be visible in the world; they’ll continue in the world while I return to you. Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me, so they can be one heart and mind, as we are one heart and mind. As long as I was with them, I guarded them in the pursuit of the life you gave through me; I even posted a night watch. And not one of them got away, except for that rebel bent on destruction (the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).
“Now I’m returning to you. I’m saying these things in the world’s hearing so my people can experience my joy completed in them. I gave them your word; the godless world hated them because of it, because they didn’t join the world’s ways, just as I did not join the world’s ways. I’m not asking that you take them out of the world but that you guard them from the Evil one. They are no more defined by the world than I am defined by the world. Make them holy — consecrated with the truth; your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes that they’ll be truth-consecrated for their mission.
“I’m praying not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me because of them and their witness about me. The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind — just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me. The same glory you gave me, I gave them so they’ll be as unified and together as we are — I in them and you in me. Then they’ll be mature in this oneness, and give the godless world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way you’ve loved me.
“Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me, having loved me long before their ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you have sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them — who you are and what you do — and continue to make it known, so that your love for me might be in them exactly as I am in them.”