For Simon Peter, he had come full circle from that first encounter with Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. He and his brother, Andrew, were fishing when this stranger approached them and declared, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19) Now three years later, following Jesus’ death and resurrection and Peter’s denial of Him…Peter has been restored and re-commissioned. “Follow Me,” is fellowship of faith and life with our Savior…it’s both inner fellowship of trust and confidence, and outer fellowship of becoming more like Him daily. “Follow Me,” ultimately means counting the cost and determining it’s all worth it.
By human standards it looked like Jesus had no control over His arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death. But here in these verses He emphatically states otherwise. Jesus was totally in control of every detail, every minute of that horrendous event…and He still is. When trials and tribulations come, remember that the same control and power Jesus had over His own life is at work in yours. Remember also, that nothing will ever happen to you that hasn’t already gone through your Heavenly Father’s hands first.
Bottom line…you can’t trust people. They’ll say one thing, but do the opposite. They’ll promise things they can never deliver on. They’ll declare their love and then turn around and break your heart. Mankind is just that…humans with lots of flaws that disappoint each other daily. And that’s difficult when we demand perfection from those who can’t achieve it….for it leads only to disillusionment. And we need to be careful that disillusionment doesn’t cause us to become cynical, critical, and bitter. Bottom line…you can’t trust people – but you can trust God. You can fully trust God with your life, your future, your everything.
Jesus is predicting His betrayal by Judas in quoting Psalm 41:9. In the span of three short years, Jesus fulfilled each prophecy that had been written about the coming Messiah. From His selection of the apostles…to knowing full well the impending treachery of Judas…Jesus carried out His plan and purpose wholly .
Jesus always lead by example. After He had washed the disciples feet, He instructed them to model what they had just witnessed. For Jesus had demonstrated to them in simple terms what it was like to be a servant. I can imagine after three years of traveling with Jesus and witnessing countless miracles, the disciples were feeling pretty full of themselves…so having Jesus wash their feet was probably not only confusing, but embarrassing to all of them. But by modeling true servant hood in its unassuming and unpretentious way, Jesus illustrated humility to all mankind.
The story comes out of Matthew 21:42 where Jesus is quoting this Scripture to the chief priests and elders of the Temple…whom were not too happy about Him accusing them of rejecting the Messiah…namely Himself, Jesus. Continuing in the next verse, Jesus countered with, “Therefore, I tell you that the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.” Jesus was offering the gift of salvation to Gentiles…building His Church from those willing to accept Him as Savior. And as Believers in Christ, we are the Church. To paraphrase Ephesians 2:20, We the Church, are God’s people, built on the foundation of all martyred apostles and prophets, with Jesus being the chief cornerstone.
Early in His Ministry, Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth. There, He practiced the Ministry of Staying Put. Many of us rail at that Ministry, for we’d rather be used in the far-flung reaches of the world than to be utilized by God in the place we were born and raised. Just this past Sunday in Church I heard of an opportunity to go on a short-term mission to Guatemala to work in an orphanage of shunned and outcast children with handicaps and congenital defects…and my heart went out to them and their suffering. Does this mean I will go? That’s entirely up to the Lord, and I leave it in His hands. For my mission may be to remain where I am, touching the people around me… in the town where I was born and raised.