From our Executive Director
Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” John 13:36
On the day before His crucifixion, Jesus has one last supper with His disciples. After washing their feet and telling them of the betrayal that was to come, He now tells Peter that he nor any other disciple can follow Him.
“You cannot follow me now.” And thank God they couldn’t follow (nor would they want to), because where Jesus was going was the path to suffering — not simply bodily harm and crucifixion, but down to the depths of hell to pay the penalty for the sins of His people.
No one else could go because no one else qualified to atone for the sins of the people; only Jesus could do that. He had come and done exactly what the Father laid out for Him to do, and now it was time for the final act: substitution. On the cross, Jesus took on the wrath of God and paid the penalty for us in order that we could be declared righteous through His sacrifice.
“But you will follow afterward.” Praise God they did follow Him afterward, because after His death and resurrection, Jesus sent His Spirit as a promise — empowering His people to come after Him. Not only to follow Jesus throughout the remainder of their lives, but through all eternity to be with the resurrected Jesus. This is indeed our path as well.
You see, resurrection doesn’t come before suffering. We can’t understand suffering today apart from Jesus and what He accomplished on our behalf. If there were no hope of a glorious future, then suffering would have no purpose. But it does, because it leads to a future so great that not even the most imaginatively brilliant human mind can comprehend. A life free from sin, sickness, death, despair and injustice. While we experience suffering in this world today, we can take heart because of its temporary nature. If this world is the best that life has to offer, then we are hopeless because of all the brokenness we see around us.
But it isn’t. This is actually just the beginning, a mere vapor of the real life to come. Sunday is coming.