There’s a word I don’t like, “Later” – Read John 13:36 –
I/We usually want what we want, NOW. That’s why we have microwaves. We’d rather have it NOW, even if it is rubbery, and less flavorful, we want it NOW, not later. But that brings up some questions
1.Who is Saying – Later?
If a parent or authority says, “Later” – If the Lord God says, “Later” – that’s the ANSWER. Or at least it SHOULD be. Jesus says to Peter, v36 “where I am going you cannot follow me NOW but LATER you will. (Emphasis mine) Remember these are the words of our Omniscient, Omnisapient, Omnibenevolent Lord. And He is saying, “Following me in THIS THING”, his death – burial – resurrection – ascension, “is NOT for NOW, but for LATER”, KJV says afterward. If the Lord says it, receive it.
If a parent, if our boss, if the Lord, says, “Later”, it is a command, it is loving, it is right.
On the contrary, if a child, a subordinate, a servant of the Lord, responds to the voice of instruction with, “no I want it NOW”, or “I’ll do that later”, that is disrespectful, distrustful, disobedience.
Then the next question
2. What Does it Mean – “Later”?
It means, you have OTHER things to do NOW. You will NOT do that now, you will do that later, because NOW you have something else to do, THIS.
What is it, NOW, we are to be doing? Well put this verse in its context. Go back to v31. Jesus says to the disciples,
NOW the Son is glorified and God is glorified
We don’t understand it all because we are little children v33. So, right NOW, we need to make the most of the opportunity we have NOW, v34 a new command I give you, LOVE ONE ANOTHER v35 by this (LOVE) everyone will know … if you love.
That is the command of the Lord, but Peter is distracted by Jesus saying in v33 that he is going somewhere, and so he’s not listening.
Oh we ARE such little children. And Peter says, “I want to go with you”, but Jesus says, “Not now, later”. And of course, little Peter says, “why can’t I follow you now, I’m committed” v37. But for Peter to follow in Death at THAT time, a) wasn’t his job and b) wouldn’t accomplish HIS task OR the Kingdom task.
So, not NOW but Later, there is something else for NOW
Brings up another question then,
3. When Is It?
When Jesus says it is best, when he deems appropriate, when everything is prepared.
Jesus is saying, “Peter, you aren’t as committed as you think” v38 “you are going to deny 3 times TONIGHT, so stick with the plan I am giving you. Let’s focus on the Loving and the Living, the glorifying me with your life, and death will come soon enough”
4. So –
v14.1 Let not your heart be troubled –
Oh isn’t that instruction beautiful in context?
“Peter, you want to do MY job, you want to go where I must go, you are Troubled about the wrong things.” And I hearken to Matthew 6:33 seek first the Kingdom of Heaven … everything else will fall into place.
Don’t be troubled – not by your coming failure – you will deny me 3 times tonight
Don’t be troubled – not by your coming struggles in service
Don’t be troubled – not in the frustrations of waiting for later
Believe in God, Believe in Me – Trust me little children
NOW – v14:2-3 – I’m preparing a place for you in Heaven, with me, by the cross, by my resurrection, after my ascension, I will return and take you there, LATER.
So, NOW – Love one another. NOW – Display my glory. NOW – Tell my story. NOW – LIVE for me. Oh child, you WILL follow me, later, after you do this, NOW.