In the book of John, it is recorded for us that Jesus, just before He faces betrayal and crucifixion, says this, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

As it is recorded here, it is right in the middle of an announcement that takes precedence over, has much more of an urgent tone and reaction. If this conversation is recorded in proper order, Peter skips right over this “new command” in response to the news delivered prior, Jesus was leaving. Jesus was going to die. Peter expressed a very desperate devotion – “There is no where you go that I wouldn’t follow, even in death.” Jesus seems to know that Peter was not really ready to die for him, yet. He knew he would be, but not at this time.

It’s easy to declare devotion apart from anything painfully in front of us that looks sacrificial. Last weekend I attended a country music concert, my first. I will admit I am not a typical music appreciator. I am almost incapable of enjoying a song if the lyrics make no sense or seem not to be true. The artist on stage sang a song about his daughter – he spoke of missing her – being away for so long. He declared in the song that he had finally found something worth dying for. He said he would lay down his life for his little girl. Beautiful, right? I wondered as he sang, is he willing to lay down this tour, the hours of signing autographs, the recording contract, his dream for his little girl?

I shouldn’t pick on this man. I have grandiose ideas about my loyalties, steadfastness, faithfulness… that I could sing (figuratively) about that may not ring true as well. There are things that surround the heart of the message that just sometimes seem more urgent. Most of the time it’s my agenda, my goal for the day that get’s in the way of this love that models that of Christ. There seems always to be the “what about me” things that get in the way. What of my time, my goals, my dreams, my things…

I like Peter. His story gives me hope. I have never denied Christ so openly as Peter did. My denials have been more subtle, easier to recover from. But then, I haven’t been asked to die yet either. Will I get to that place? Am I closer today than I was yesterday?

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

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