Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?”
Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”
Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake.”
Jesus answered him, “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.” (John 13:36-38,)
At the point of this conversation Peter had followed the Lord externally. Leaving his nets the fisherman had skipped along after the Nazarene. His body was strong from a life of labor and his spirit brave from witnessing miracles. This prompted Peter to speak here, but bless his heart; it was from a place of self-sufficiency and imagined resolve. However, this time the Lord was not heading to another village and debate with religious men. The cursed tree held out its hellish arms for the Nazarene. Was Peter ready for that?
Peter’s faith in the upper room was in Peter. It was not a faith that knew the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lamb of God, nor the Holy Spirit’s power needed to live and even die for the Gospel. Of course Jesus knew Peter in a much deeper way than Peter knew Peter. He knew the fowl would crow over Peter. He also knew Peter would follow Him afterward. The time of external following needs be left to the rooster. Now is the time of internal following. Internal following means a purposed coming to the end of me. It means internal martyrdom. (John 21:18) It means a life built only on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit He gives.
What of you and me and our following? He asks, “Will you lay down your life for My sake?”