Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
In the end, Peter proved his love more than he had to say it. Eventually he would end up giving his life for Jesus’ sake, but in the meantime he gave his life for Him in a different way. After all he had been through, Peter took up his cross and followed Jesus. And with that decision made, there would come times where he’d refuse to deny Jesus and stop speaking in his name. There would be times where he refused to back down and ended up suffering for Christ’s sake. In the end, there was no question about his commitment to his Lord.
Do we look at our lives the same way? Is it worth it to us to follow Jesus? There will certainly be struggles and challenges along the way. There will be ups and downs. A life of following Jesus will take us to places and situations we never would have envisioned. Our path may involve us moving in a direction we could have never imagined taking. And our ultimate end may not be one we would have hoped for. But will we stay close behind Jesus anyway?
The proof of our love for Jesus is in how we live our lives. It is demonstrated in our willingness to follow and our service to Him. It is measured by our commitment to the cause of Christ. John says that we love Jesus because He first loved us, and how do we know that He loved us? Isn’t the proof in His actions, His sacrifice, His willingness to do the hard things and to give His all for someone else? So may we be willing to reciprocate and dedicate ourselves fully to Him.
Prior to this moment, Peter had told Jesus he was willing to die for Him and then failed to follow through on that claim. But each of those experiences we may label as a failure contain valuable lessons. Peter grew. He changed His focus. He surrendered completely. And we can do the same. Even if we’ve failed the Lord before, that’s no reason not to follow Him now. Let us simply take up our cross and go with Jesus wherever He wants to take us.