John 13:34-35, probably one of the more often quoted passages of the Bible, centers on the commandment that we love each other as Christ loved us. Pretty straightforward, except Jesus starts it with this bit in John 13:33 about the disciples not being able to follow Him to the cross.
Peter doesn’t get it. “Lord, where are you going?” Then, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” (John 13:36-37)
He completely missed the commandment because he had his own agenda. Never mind that it was an agenda that he couldn’t hold up (you know that whole “deny Me three times” thing), it wasn’t what Christ wanted. Jesus wanted Peter to lay down his life to become an integral part of the nascent church, but He also wanted to lay down His life for Peter, something Peter couldn’t follow Him in doing. The command for Peter, and for you and me, is to lay down our lives in love for one another, and to let Christ lay down His life for us. None of us can ever be a perfect sacrifice, as Christ was. We cannot follow Him in atoning for sin and reconciling to God, but we can follow Him in love, and that’s all He commands us to do.
Yeah, that’s the story of my life. Even when I think I am so focused on God, I’m still missing ninety percent of what he’s saying. Ever do that?