Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 13:36

Simon Peter *said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered, "Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Heaven;   Jesus Continued;   Peter;   Righteous;   Thompson Chain Reference - Afterwards;  
Dictionaries:
Fausset Bible Dictionary - Peter;   Thomas;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Foot;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Cloud;   Following;   Peter;   Premeditation;   Promise (2);   Upper Room (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Judas;   Passover;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Peter, the Second Epistle of;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for November 17;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou canst not follow me now - Thou hast not faith strong enough to die for me, nor is thy work yet done; but hereafter thou shalt suffer for my sake, and die in defense of my truth. See John 21:18.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 13:36". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-13.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered, Whither I go thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow afterwards.

Peter was determined to follow Jesus both to prison and to death, and there is no doubt of Peter's sincerity. What he did not at that time realize was that the power to do such a thing is not resident in men but comes only from above. The access to such heavenly strength would come to Peter only after the victory of Jesus upon the cross had made it possible. In his reply, Jesus addressed Peter's intentions, not his question, and pointed out (1) Peter's present inability to follow the Lord, and (2) the full ability of Peter to do so after the enabling sacrifice on Calvary had been made.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/john-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Simon Peter said unto him,.... One might have expected that Peter would have taken some notice of what Christ said last, about love to one another; but he passes over it, and takes no manner of notice of it; which did not arise from inattention to it, or from any dislike of it, or disaffection to it; for it appears from his whole conduct and writings, that he had the utmost regard for it; he very frequently presses it, and most fervently practised it; but having observed some words which dropped from Christ's lips, "whither I go ye cannot come", John 13:33; his mind was intent upon them, was uneasy about them, and very much wanted to know the meaning of them; and as soon as Christ had done speaking, took the opportunity to put the question:

Lord, whither goest thou? imagining he was going to some distant place in the country, and which was difficult of access; whereby he betrayed his weakness and ignorance, as the Jews did, John 6:25.

Jesus answered him, whither I go thou canst not follow me now; which words imply, that Christ was going somewhere in a little time; he was going to the garden to surrender himself up into the hands of his enemies, and hither Peter could, and did follow him, and therefore is not here meant; he was going to die for his people, in order to take away the sting of death and the curse of the law, and work out salvation for them; he was going to his Father in heaven, to receive gifts for men, and to send the Comforter; to open the way to heaven, take possession of it, and prepare it for his saints; to plead the cause, and transact the business of his dear children; and to receive a kingdom for himself, and return: now hither, as yet, Peter could not follow him; for his time of suffering death was not yet come; Christ had some other work for him to do first; he must open the door of faith to the Gentiles, and preach the Gospel to them:

but thou shall follow me afterwards; when thy time is come, and thou hast done the work allotted for thee, thou shalt follow me by dying for me; and thou shall follow me into my kingdom and glory, and be for ever with me: all the saints shall follow Christ to heaven, who is their forerunner for them entered; and as sure as he is there, so sure shall they be also; the counsels of God are unalterable, the covenant of grace is firm and sure, the blood of Christ can never be spilled in vain, his prayers and preparations cannot be fruitless, nor the work of the Spirit be ever lost; wherefore not one of those who are given to Christ, and come to him, and follow him here, but shall follow him hereafter.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on John 13:36". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

5 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

(5) A weighty example of rash trust and confidence.
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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 13:36". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-13.html. 1599-1645.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Whither goest thou? (που υπαγεισpou hupageis). Peter is puzzled just as the Pharisees were twice (John 7:35; John 8:21.).

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Peter saith, Lord, whither goest thou? — St. Peter seems to have thought, that Christ, being rejected by the Jews, would go to some other part of the earth to erect his throne, where he might reign without disturbance, according to the gross notions he had of Christ's kingdom.

Thou canst not follow me now — But Peter would not believe him. And he did follow him, John 18:15. But it was afar off. And not without great loss.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 13:36". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-13.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

A new commandment I give unto you1, that ye love one another; even as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
    John 13:34,35

  1. A new commandment I give unto you. As to this new commandment, love had been commanded before (Leviticus 19:18), but the Christian love here commanded is different from that which the Jew was bade to fell for the Jew, just as the affection of a loving family differs from the mere broad and kindly spirit of neighborliness. A love which had Christ's heart as the standard would of necessity be new, and would distinguish those who possessed it from all men.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 13:36". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Whither, &c.; referring to what Jesus had said, (John 13:33.)

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-13.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Господи! куда Ты идешь? Данный вопрос вызван словами Христа: как Я сказал иудеям, и т.д. Отсюда явствует, сколь груб и бестолков был Петр. Его столько раз предупреждали об отходе Христа, а он волнуется, словно услышал что-то новое. Хотя в этом мы чрезвычайно на него похожи. Каждый день мы слышим из уст Христовых все, что необходимо для жизни и познания. Когда же доходит до дела, мы ведем себя подобно новичкам, которым еще ничего не сказали. Кроме того, Петр показывает, что слишком сильно желает плотского присутствия Христа. Он считает абсурдным, что Христос уйдет куда-то, не взяв его с Собой.

Куда Я иду. Этими словами Христос обуздывает неуместное желание Петра. Он говорит строго, как подобает Учителю. Однако вскоре смягчает суровость Своих слов. Он учит, что будет отделен от Своих только на время. Кроме того, здесь мы научаемся подчинять Богу все наши желания, дабы они не переходили должные пределы. Если же они когда-нибудь взыграют, да будем же мы обуздывать их хотя бы этой уздою. Впрочем, дабы мы не пали духом, сразу же следует утешение: Христос обещает нам, что некогда мы все к Нему придем. Он хочет сказать, что сейчас Петр еще не созрел для несения креста. Он словно вызревающий колос, еще сокрытый в траве, но который с течением времени созреет. Посему надобно просить Бога продолжать начатое в нас дело. А пока – будем ползать по земле, доколе не научимся бежать быстрее. Поскольку же Христос терпит нас, когда мы еще изнежены и немощны, научимся и мы не отвергать немощных братьев, еще далеко отстоящих от поставленной цели. Желательно, чтобы мы бежали с большой пылкостью, и все время были окрыленными. Но если кто передвигается медленнее – то будем и здесь надеяться на лучшее, только бы он не отклонялся от правильного пути.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-13.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

36 Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Ver. 36. Whither goest thou?] That deep conceit he had drunk in of an earthly kingdom, so hung in his light, that he could not see whither Christ was ascending. A little saucer held close to the eyes hinders the sight of a huge hill.

But thou shalt follow me] Perhaps in the same kind of death; but to heaven, most certainly.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 13:36". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-13.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

John 13:36. Thou canst not follow me now: We may gather hence, that the declaration, John 13:33. Whither I go, ye cannot come, is one of those general propositions, whereof there are many in scripture, which were spoken with a limitation not expressed. Here we are directed to add the limitation thus: Whither I go, ye cannot come now; for they were in general, equally with St. Peter, to follow Jesus afterwards, by suffering a violent death. Our Lord, in the next words, Thou shalt follow me afterwards, seems obliquely to hint what he afterwards further signified, in his command to St. Peter after his resurrection, when he ordered him to follow him, ch. John 21:18-19 namely, that Peter should die on the cross for his sake, which ancient history assures us he did. For the remainder of the chapter, the reader is referred to the parallel places.

Inferences on the betraying of Christ, John 13:21-30 compared with Matthew 26:14-25. Such an eye-sore was Christ who raised Lazarus, and Lazarus when raised, to the envious priests, scribes, and elders of the Jews, that they consult to murder both. While either of them lives, neither can the glory of that miracle die, nor the shame of its malicious cavillers. How happy had it been for that miserable council, had they but spent half those thoughts upon their own salvation, which they misemployed upon the destruction of the innocent! But mean are the motives, and the result must be base and detestable. Treachery must do that, which power would have attempted in vain.

Who so fit for their purpose among the domestics of Christ, as he who bare the bag, and loved immoderately what he bare?—The heart which has once enslaved itself to yellow and white earth, may be made any thing bad. Affianced as he was openly to Christ, still Judas is Mammon's servant. How could he but hate that Master whom he formally professed to serve, who really stooped to serve privily that master whom Christ, on all occasions, professed to hate!

Wretched Judas, whether shall we more abhor thy treachery, or wonder at thy folly! Had thy wretched chapman been able to fetch down those starry spangles of heaven, and to have put them into thy venal grasp, what had this been, to weigh with a God? The time was when he that set thee at work could say, All the kingdoms of the earth and their glory are mine, I will give them to whom I will;—and all these will I give thee: had he now made thee that offer, it might have carried some colour of a temptation: but to tender so invaluable a commodity for thirty poor silverlings, was no less mean than wicked.

How unequal is this woeful bargain! He that would value Mary's ointment, bestowed on the feet of Christ, at 300 pieces, now sells his Master, on whom those precious odours were spent, at thirty. Worldly hearts, as the old adage expresses it, are indeed penny-wise and pound-foolish. They know how to set high prices upon this world's trash; but as for heavenly things, or the God who owns them, these they shamefully undervalue.

The bargain is made, the price is paid; and Judas returns, and looks no less smoothly upon his Master and his fellows, than if he had done them no disservice: he was not now first a hypocrite: the passover is at hand, no man more busy to prepare for, more devoutly forward to receive it, than Judas!—O the foolishness, the obduracy of this son of perdition! How many proofs had he formerly seen of his Master's omniscience?—And yet so blind is sinful man,—the miscreant dares to plot a secret villany against his person, and then to face him, calmly, as if all were well. While he, however, thinks fit to conceal his treachery, our Saviour chose not to conceal his prescience of the fact. Verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

And did not Judas, think you, blush,—and grow pale,—and cast down his guilty eyes, and turn away his troubled countenance, at so alarming an intimation? Alas! custom of sin so steels the brow, it is incapable of any relentings. Could the other disciples have discerned any change in any face there, they had not been so sorrowfully affected with the charge. How intentively their eyes are bent upon each other, as if they would pierce through those windows down into the bosom: with what mutual jealousy do they peruse each other's foreheads! At length, as rather willing to distrust their own innocence, than their Master's assertion, see how each trembles to say, Lord, is it I?—"It is possible there may lurk secret wickedness in some blind corner of the heart. It is possible that time and temptation, working upon our corruption, may draw us into such sin, as we could not beforehand conceive. Whither may we not fall, if left to our own strength?"—It is wise to fear the worst:—Lord, is it I?

Oh the mad infatuation of sin! Judas can sit by, and hear his Master say, Woe be to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed: good were it for that man, had he never been born: yet is his countenance unshaken, unappalled! O Judas, didst thou ever hear aught but truth fall from those lips?—How then durst thou persist in the purpose of so damnable a villany? Alas! resolved sinners run on so desperately in their wicked courses, and have so bent their eyes upon the profit or the pleasure of their mischievous projects, that they will not see hell and eternal misery, though they continually lie open before them in the way.

As if that shameless man meant to outbrave all accusations, and outface his own heart, he dares to ask with the rest, Master, is it I? No disciple more zealously decries that perfidy, than he who fosters it in his own breast. His fellows think him honest; and all is well, while he can be well esteemed. Reputation,--strange as the paradox may appear,—is the only care of false hearts: not truth, not consciousness of integrity:—So they may but seem fair to men, they care not how foul they are to God.

But he, whose piercing eye sees things as they are, can peremptorily convict the impudence of this hollow questionist with a direct affirmation, Thou hast said. Foolish traitor, couldst thou then think that those eyes of thine would endure the beams of the sun? Thou supposedst thy crime unknown; to men it was so. Had thy Master been no more than man it had been so to him. But this avowed knowledge shall argue him divine; nor canst thou escape its observance: for there is not any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

As yet the charge was private; either not heard, or not observed by the other disciples: it shall be whispered to one, and afterwards known to all. Peter's zeal would not let him dwell under the danger of so doubtful an imputation. He is anxious to know the man; his signs ask what his voice dares not; the beloved disciple well understands this silent language, and ventures to clothe Peter's thought in words, Lord, who is it that will betray thee? John 13:25.

That which was timorously demanded, is graciously answered. How loth was our Saviour to name him whom he was not unwilling to point out? In the same language, wherein Peter asked the question of John, does our Lord shape the answer; what a beckoning demanded, is answered by a sop. Surely a stander-by would have thought this man well with his Master, and have construed this act, as the Jews did his tears for Lazarus, Behold how he loveth him!—But the outward gifts of God (alarming consideration!) are not always proofs of his love; yea, sometimes are bestowed in displeasure. So foolish are they, who, measuring God's affection by temporal benefits, are ready to applaud prospering wickedness, and to grudge outward blessings to those who are incapable of better. See Psalms 73.

After the sop, Satan entered into Judas. Favours ill used make the heart more guilty, and capable of further evil; that wicked spirit frequently takes occasion by God's gifts to assault us the more eagerly. Thus Satan took advantage, by the sop, of a further possession, who had twice before made a palpable entry into Judas's false heart; first in his covetousness, and next in his damnable plot of conspiracy against Christ. As in every gross sin which we entertain, we give harbour to that evil one; so at every growth in wickedness, new hold is taken by him of the heart. At first Satan entered to make the house of Judas's heart his own: now he enters it as being his. The first purpose of sin opens the gates to Satan; consent admits him into the entry; full resolution of sin gives up the keys into his hands, and puts him into absolute possession. What an awakening consideration to every serious heart! Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.

O the admirable meekness of this Lamb of God! We see not a frown, nor hear a check; but what thou doest, do quickly, is his single testimony of knowledge, correction, and reproof against the false disciple. Why do we startle, and redden at our petty wrongs, and swell with anger, and break into furious resentments upon every occasion, when the pattern of our patience, the Captain of our salvation, lets not fall one harsh word, even upon so foul an apostate?

Judeas hears him, and departs. That steely heart relents not: the confirmed traitor knows his way to the high-priest's hall, and to the garden. The watch-word is given,—Hail, Master! and a kiss: yet more hypocrisy; yet more presumption is practised, on the foundation of the Saviour's lenity. O the impudence of a hardened sinner! that tongue which has agreed to sell its Master, dares to say Hail; and those lips which have passed the vile compact of his death, dare offer to kiss Him whom they have covenanted to kill. It was the divine charge of old, Kiss the Son, lest he be angry: O Saviour, thou hadst reason to be angry with this kiss; the scourges, the thorns, the nails, the spear of thy murderers, were not so piercing, so painful, as this touch of Judas. All these were in this alone; the stabs of an enemy cannot be so grievous, as the skin-deep wounds of a disciple. See John 13:18 and Zechariah 13:6.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, In the transaction of Christ's washing his disciples' feet, we have the following particulars:

1. Christ in deepest humility condescends to wash his disciples' feet, to terrify his love towards them, and set them an example. When he knew that his hour was come, that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, by his death, resurrection, and ascension, having loved his own apostles which were in the world, he loved them unto the end: and on the evening of the paschal day, Christ knowing how short a time he had to live, and consequently that what he had to say, or do, to his apostles before his departure, would most fitly be done presently, he expressed the constancy of his love and kindness to them as follows: and, as an instance of his love, says the evangelist, supper being ended, or it being supper time, (the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him,) Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, all power in heaven and in earth; and that he was come from God, and went to God; notwithstanding the transcendant glory which he possessed in consequence thereof, yet, to make his humiliation more illustrious, and his love appear more astonishing, he riseth from supper, and laid aside his upper garments, and, as a servant, took a towel and girded himself, tucked it round his waist. After that, he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Note; (1.) The devil's wiles are fatally prevalent: even an apostle becomes his prey. Who need not then tremble for himself? (2.) While the amazing humility of Jesus raises our highest admiration, we should learn to imitate his bright example, and count nothing beneath us which will tend to God's glory, or the good of immortal souls.

2. We have the conversation which past between Christ and St. Peter on this occasion. When our Lord came to Peter, he, amazed at such condescension, could not bear to see his Master in so servile an office, and saith, Lord, dost thou, the God of glory, the divine Messiah, wash my feet, a vile sinner as I am? Jesus answered and said, What I do, thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter, be made acquainted with my purpose and design in this matter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet: he was shocked at the idea of his Master's degrading himself so low, and thought he never would consent that he should perform so mean a service to so worthless a creature as he felt himself to be. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, if thou art not spiritually washed from thy sins by my blood, and cleansed by my Spirit, which is signified by this washing of water, thou hast no part with me, no communion with me, no interest in me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head; convinced of his error, and desiring nothing so much as Christ's favour, and communion with him; and sensible how polluted he was, he longs to be thoroughly purged from corruption, and to be washed all over. (See the Annotations.) Jesus saith to him, He that is washed, justified and sanctified, needeth not, save to wash his feet by daily application to the same fountain of my blood, to cleanse him from any corruption or guilt contracted in this polluted world; but is clean every whit, accepted of God, and freed at least from the dominion of sin; and ye are clean in this sense, but not all, not every individual of you. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, ye are not all clean, Judeas the traitor being in their number. Note; (1.) The condescensions of Jesus cannot but be the astonishment of the enlightened soul. (2.) Though God's dispensations appear dark and intricate, it becomes us never to object: we know not now, but we shall know hereafter, the reasons of his procedure. (3.) None have a part in Christ, who are not cleansed by his heavenly washing, so as at least to possess dominion over sin. But we cannot partake of his glory, if we are not first made partakers of his grace, washed in his blood, and perfectly cleansed by his Spirit. (4.) It is good not to be peremptory in our resolves, as we may see cause to change our minds. (5.) They who have tasted the grace of God in truth, desire the perfect sanctification of their hearts and lives. (6.) We need not only once come to Jesus for pardon and grace, but every day renew the exercise of repentance and faith. (7.) Christ tries the hearts of his professing people, and knows who are hypocrites, and who are disciples indeed.

3. Christ explains to them the meaning of what he had done. Ye call me Master, and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet, condescending to every office of kindness towards the meanest disciple. And, to reconcile them to duties of self-denial, he adds, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord, neither he that is sent, greater than he that sent him. With such an example therefore before them, they need not think the lowest offices of charity a disparagement to them. If ye know these things, and understood my meaning, happy are ye if ye do them, and in your spirit and practice conform to my precepts and pattern. Note; (1.) Jesus our Lord and Master: his teaching we must observe, his commands obey. (2.) A faithful disciple of Jesus studies how to serve his brethren, and is ready to condescend to the lowest in every work of faith and labour of love. (3.) Christ hath set us an example, that we should follow his steps; what he enjoins upon us, he has practised first himself. (4.) Knowledge is good, but practice is the life of religion. They are doubly criminal, who know better and do worse.

2nd, Christ knew who would betray him, and begins to point out the traitor.

1. In general he lets them know there was a false disciple among them, on whom none of the things that he had spoken would have any effect. I speak not of you all, as clean and faithful: I know whom I have chosen: I expect not this obedience from you all: I know I have chosen twelve apostles; and the scripture is fulfilled of one of them, which said, He that eateth bread with me, hath lift up his heel against me: though he be so near to me, as to be entertained daily at my table with me, yet he will do me all the mischief he can. Now I tell you before it come, that when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he, and may be more confirmed in your faith of my divine omniscience and mediatorial character, when you see this prediction awfully verified. And to encourage you to be faithful, whatever falsehoods you may see in others, or whatever humbling services you may be called to, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send, receiveth me, and testifies his respect for me, in the honour paid to my ambassador; and he that receiveth me as the Messiah sent of God, receiveth him that sent me. When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, deeply affected with the traitor's guilt, and the ruin hanging over his head, and testified and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. Note; (1.) Many eat at Christ's table, who most ungratefully lift up their heel against him, and with aggravated guilt prove faithless, and betray him. (2.) Every true minister of Jesus is his ambassador, and represents his Prince's person. For his sake therefore is he to be honoured.

2. He points out Judas in particular as the person designed. Shocked at what they heard, doubtful which of them he meant, and anxious to know, each of them looked at the other, to observe whether any one would betray any symptoms of guilt; and, as John the beloved disciple lay on the couch next below Jesus, as it were in his bosom, Simon Peter, eager to be resolved, privately gave him a hint that he should softly ask their Master whom he meant: when, taking an opportunity, John whispered, Lord, who is it? Jesus answered, so low as not to be heard by the rest, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it in the sauce. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot the son of Simon, intimating to John that he was the person. Note; (1.) It is a bitter grief to a true disciple, to hear of the scandals brought upon Jesus by false professors of religion. (2.) Those are happy, whom Jesus favours with his especial regard, and lays in the bosom of his love.

3. Judas immediately sets himself to accomplish his hellish purpose. After the sop, Satan entered into him, possessed his body and soul, and drove him to the precipice of destruction. Then said Jesus, That thou dost, do quickly, either challenging him to do his worst, or abandoning him to Satan's devices. None at the table having heard what he had said to John, they suspected Christ had given Judas orders to provide something against the feast, or to distribute some relief to the poor, he being the purse-bearer. Urged on by the power of the wicked one, he went immediately out, fixed in his base and wicked purpose; and it was night, the fittest time for such deeds of darkness; and, however unseasonable the hour, so eagerly was he bent upon his treachery, that nothing could delay him. Note; (1.) When Christ abandons the sinner to Satan's power, he rushes headlong to ruin. (2.) They who withdraw from the society of the faithful, begin to shew the apostacy of their hearts.

3rdly, When Judas was gone out, Jesus addressed himself to his faithful apostles.

1. He informs them that the hour of his glorification was nearly arrived. Jesus said, now is the Son of man glorified: he is ready by his sufferings to obtain the glorious victory over all his own and his faithful people's foes, sin, Satan, death, and hell: and God is glorified in him; all his divine perfections being most eminently displayed in the obedience to death of the Redeemer. If God be glorified in him, his justice, truth, wisdom, mercy, exalted to the highest by his cross; God shall also glorify him in himself, or with himself; bringing him to the mediatorial throne in heaven; and shall straightway glorify him, in the amazing signs and wonders which should accompany the death of Jesus, and especially by his speedy resurrection.

2. He intimates to them, that the time of his stay with them would be very short. Little children, so tenderly and affectionately doth the Lord Jesus regard his dear believing people, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: longing for my bodily presence with you: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you; you must be content for a while under the irksome separation, till the hour of your glory shall also arrive, and ye shall then come to be with me where I am.

3. He charges them to cultivate mutual love. A new commandment I give unto you; not indeed now first enjoined, since it was the old commandment which had been from the beginning; but through the degeneracy of the times it had generally ceased to be practised, but was now more clearly explained, and enforced by new motives; a command the most excellent, and the fundamental law of that kingdom which he came to establish; that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another; ready to every act of kindness, and to part with every thing, if need be, even life itself, for the good of your brethren: and this was to be the characteristic mark of their discipleship; for by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another; they shall take knowledge of you, that you have been with me, and learned of me. Note; The distinguishing badge of true Christianity is this spirit of fervent love. Love is the image of Jesus: he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in him. This will make us meek and lowly towards our brethren; ready to pass by their provocations; to forgive their offences; to pity their infirmities; to bear their differences in opinion; to delight in their prosperity; to promote their good, spiritual and temporal; and ever to maintain towards them the kindest sentiments, and be constant in the warmest applications to the throne of grace on their behalf. A spirit of selfishness, narrowness, bitterness, dispute, animosity, is a reproach to the profession of Christianity; and proves, that those who are actuated by it, deceive their ownselves, when they call themselves the followers of Jesus.

4. We have a conference between Christ and St. Peter, on what our Lord had said, John 13:33.

[1.] Peter, dissatisfied perhaps with what Christ had spoken, is solicitous to know where he was going, and therefore earnestly inquires. Probably he thought he was about to quit Judea, and, according to their prejudiced opinions of the Messiah, to erect his kingdom in some other part of the world.

[2.] Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now: Christ had work yet for Peter to do upon earth, before he should gain the glorious crown of martyrdom: but thou shalt follow me afterwards, partaking both of my sufferings and glory.

[3.] Peter, with too much self-confidence, unwilling that his Master should doubt his courage or determined purpose to cleave to him wherever he went, replied, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? what dangers or difficulties can deter me? I will lay down my life for thy sake, and will die sooner than desert thee.

[4.] Christ warns him of the weakness of his resolution, and how unable he would find himself for the least part of what he promised. Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? how little dost thou know of thy own weakness! Verily, verily, I say unto thee, take notice of it as a most certain truth, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice; before another sun shall rise, and the time of cock-crowing is over, thou shalt not only deny me as thy Master, but disown the very knowledge of my person. Note; We know not our weakness till the temptation comes; and every boast of self-confidence is a certain prelude to a fall.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on John 13:36". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/john-13.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Here we find Peter reflecting upon what our Saviour had said just before, Whither I go, ye cannot come John 13:33 : he is inquisitive to know of Christ whither he went. Our Lord tells him, that for the present he could not follow him, but should hereafter; he was not yet strong enough to suffer for him, as he should and did afterwards. St. Peter, grieved at this, rashly resolves to follow him, though he should die for his sake. Christ advises him not to be over-confident of his own strength and standing, for he should deny him thrice, within the time of cock-crowing.

Observe here, 1. How that fond conceit, which our Lord's disciples had of his temporal kingdom here in the world, did abide and continue with them to the very last; for when Christ speaks of leaving them by ascending into heaven, Peter understands him of a removal that was earthly, fom one place to another, whereas Christ intended it of a removal from earth to heaven.

The opinion, that the Messias was to be a temporal prince, and that his kingdom should be of this world, was so deeply rooted in the minds of the Jews, that they stumbled at it fatally: and Christ's own disciples had so drank in the notion, that they wonder to hear Christ say, that he is going from them, and that whither he goes they cannot come.

Observe, 2. That Christ's disciples shall certainly follow their Master afterwards, and be forever with the Lord; but they must wait their Lord's time, and finish their Lord's work: they must patiently wait for their change, and not peevishly to heaven, they shall follow him afterwards.

Observe, 3. The greatness of St. Peter's self-confidence: I will lay down my life for thy sake.

Good man! he resolved honestly, but too, too much in his own strength. Little, O little did he think what a feather he should be in the wind of temptation, if once God left him to the power and prevalency of his own fears! The holiest of men knows not his own strength, till temptation brings him to the trial.

Observe lastly, how detestable St. Peter's presumption and self-confidence was to Christ, and how fatal and pernicious to himself; Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? As if Christ had said, "Peter thou sayest more than thou canst do; thine own strength will fail thee, and thy self-confidence deceive thee; I know thy heart better than thou dost thyself; and I foresee, that before the cock crows thou shalt deny me thrice."

Thence learn, That none are so near falling, as those that are most confident of their own standing.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on John 13:36". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/john-13.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

36.] This announcement of Peter’s denial is probably the same with that in Luke 22:33 ff., where see notes: but distinct from that on the way to Gethsemane, Matthew 26:34; Mark 14:30.

ἀκ. δὲ ὕστ., alluding probably both to the future reception of His Apostle into His glory, and to the particular path by which he should come to that glory;—as in ch. John 21:18-19.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 13:36". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-13.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 13:36. (342) πέτρος, Peter) Peter speaks in this place, then Thomas, then Philip, then Judas, ch. John 14:5; John 14:8; John 14:22, then all the disciples, ch. John 16:29. [Those very interlocutory speeches, noted down in ch, 14., seem to imply that Peter and John had not returned, and that the paschal lamb had not yet been got ready. And though this be so, John had no less power to describe the speeches (subjects) contained in that chapter, than had Luke those in his ch. Luke 1., etc. Would any one readily venture to describe those speeches, even though he had heard or read them a hundred times? It (the power) was divinely given to the sacred winters. But if you are of opinion, that the discourse which meets us in ch. 14. was delivered before that Peter and John had departed into the city, no doubt the series of the remaining parts of the narrative is not disarranged thereby: however, the rest of the discourse, on this supposition, will have to be separated from the short clause, Arise, etc., ch. John 14:31.—Harm., p. 506, etc.]— ποῦ, whither) John 13:33, “Ye shall seek Me; as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” Peter was asking the question, as one who was supposing that he could follow the Lord. The heart of Peter had clung close to Jesus: ch. John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life;” John 21:7, “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, and did cast himself into the sea.”— ἀπεκρίθη, answered) To the question whither, He answers, after an interval, ch. John 14:2, “In My Father’s house, etc., I go to prepare a place for you,” etc., 12, “I go unto My Father,” 28, John 16:5, “Now I go My way to Him that sent Me.”— οὐ δύνασαι, thou canst not) Neither did the circumstances admit of it, nor the weakness of Peter; but Peter has regard to this latter alone in his objection in reply. Peter did ‘follow,’ ch. John 18:15 [at Jesus’ apprehension], but it was “afar off” [Matthew 26:58], and not without loss to himself.— ἀκολουθήσεις, thou shalt follow) ch. John 21:19; John 21:22, “This (as to “another girding him”) spake Jesus, signifying by what death Peter should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He saith unto Him, Follow Me.”—“If I will that he (John) tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me.”

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 13:36". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-13.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Peter yet understood not his Lord and Master, and therefore asked him whither he went? Our Saviour spake of his ascension into heaven, after his suffering death upon the cross; whither he tells Peter he could not at present follow him, but afterwards should. Believers shall be ever with the Lord, but they must wait the Lord’s time, and first finish the work which he hath given them to do upon the earth.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 13:36". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-13.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

ты не можешьидти Его труд был почти завершен, а их – только начинался (Мф. 28:16-20; Мк. 16:15; Лк. 24:47). Особенный труд нужно было совершить Петру (см. пояснения к 21:15-19). Только Иисус, как безгрешная Жертва за грехи мира, мог пойти на крест и умереть (1Пет. 2:22-24). Также только Он мог быть прославлен в присутствии Отца той славой, которую имел до Своего воплощения (см. 12:41; 17:1-5).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 13:36". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-13.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Thou shalt follow me; through death upon the cross, to heaven. Chap John 21:18-19.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/john-13.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

36.Peter said’ whither goest thou?—Peter evidently imagined that our Lord is going through some terrible ordeal of danger, and perhaps death, to a result of glory. As his senior apostle he wishes to know the route, and to follow most closely in the track.

Now’ afterwards—What our Saviour had said to the Jews in wrath, and to the disciples in love, he now says to Peter with a qualification and a promise. The Jews should die in their sins, and where Christ is they should never come. Peter can follow not now but afterwards.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-13.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Peter returned to the subject of Jesus" departure ( John 13:33; John 8:21). He was unclear about where Jesus meant He would go. Jesus did not answer him unambiguously, probably because such an answer would have created even more serious problems for him. It was not God"s will for Peter to follow Jesus through death into heaven then, but it would be later ( John 21:18-19). Jesus" answer implied that Peter had asked his question so he could accompany Jesus wherever He was going. Peter"s statement was an indirect expression of affection for and commitment to Jesus.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-13.html. 2012.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 13:36. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, whither goest thou away? Jesus answered. Whither I go away, thou canst not follow me now, but thou shalt follow afterwards. Peter has not been able to apprehend aright the truths of which Jesus has been speaking. We need not wonder at it; and, had he understood them fully, there would have been less necessity either for the instructions that follow or for the discipline of his fall. As it is, thinking only of himself and his fellow-disciples, failing to see the greatness of the charge that would be committed to them when Jesus went away, and not yet trained as he will be, he turns to the thought of the separation spoken of in John 13:33, and asks whither his Lord goeth. No direct answer is given to the question. Peter must have known his work and done it before he could have properly comprehended the answer, had it been given; for a disciple’s reward stands in such a relation to his work, that without a knowledge of the latter he can have no true knowledge of the former. Therefore it is that he is told that the time is not come for his following his Lord. He shall follow Him afterwards; follow Him in shame, in humiliation, to the cross, to the life beyond the grave: then shall he know.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/john-13.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 13:36. On this announcement of Jesus that He was shortly to leave them follow four characteristic utterances of the disciples. First as usual, , ; “Lord, where are you going?” referring to John 13:33. The Vulgate renders “Domine, quo vadis?” the words which the legend ascribes to Peter when withdrawing from persecution in Rome he met Jesus entering the city. Jesus does not needlessly excite them by plainly telling them of His death, for He has much to say to them which He wishes them to listen to undisturbed. He assures Peter that though he cannot now accompany his Master, he will afterwards follow, and so rejoin Him; cf.John 21:19.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 13:36". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-13.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

cannot follow me yet to the dying for justice sake, for you are not yet prepared for martyrdom; you cannot yet follow me to the glory of my body, when risen from the dead, but must wait till the general resurrection; you cannot follow me to the bosom of my Father, being not yet sufficiently perfected in charity. (St. Augustine, tract. 64. in Joan.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 13:36". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Me. All the texts omit.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 13:36". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.

Simon Peter said [`saith' legei (G3004)] unto him - seeing plainly, in these directions how to behave themselves, that He was indeed going from them,

Lord, where goest thou? - having hardly a glimmering of the real truth.

Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterward.

How different this from what He said to the Jews, "Whither I go, ye cannot come" (John 8:21).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(36) Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou?—Comp. John 13:33. The earnest, loving nature of the Apostle dwells upon the words which tell of the Master’s departure. He is prepared to follow Him to danger, or even to death, and, that he may do so, asks whither it is that He is going.

Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now.—Our Lord does not give the answer which St. Peter had sought, but repeats the statement of John 13:33. For St. Peter, as for the others, the place must be prepared and the way opened before they could follow (John 14:2). For him, as for his Master, the day’s work was to be done before the night would come, and it was not done yet. But that night would come, and he would hereafter follow his Master in a more literal sense than any of which he thought. (See Notes on John 21:18-19.)

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards.
whither
33; 14:4,5; 16:17; 21:21
thou
21:18,19,22; 2 Peter 1:14
Reciprocal: Psalm 24:3 - Who;  Matthew 8:19 - I will;  Matthew 14:28 - bid;  Matthew 26:33 - Though;  Mark 8:34 - follow;  Mark 14:29 - Although;  Mark 14:68 - he denied;  Luke 22:33 - I am;  John 14:2 - I go;  John 16:5 - Whither;  John 16:23 - ask;  John 18:8 - let;  Acts 12:4 - he put

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 13:36". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-13.html.

The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Chapter109

Prayer

Almighty God, we are gathered around thy Son in his humblest form, and we wish to hear every word that may be spoken by the voice of his heart. The traitor has gone out, so now we may hear the music of love—the inner word which traitors may not hear. They have gone out into the night to be lost in the darkness they love; but here we tarry in the morning, in the summer glow, and we are all bending forward to listen to the sweet Gospel voice, full of love, full of hope,—so gentle a voice, hastening, as it were, to its own death to rise again in trumpets and thunders of sovereignty and power. But we will hear its lesser tone, we will listen to the gentler speech; we will listen with our hearts. Speak, Lord, for thy servants hear! We are tired of all other voices; we would purge our ears of all inferior sounds; and if thou wilt circumcise our ears, we shall hear, and nothing shall escape our adoring and grateful attention. Our hearts need thy voice: they are lone and weary and full of troubling wonder; yea, they are often sore afraid. They need to hear the voice from the great light, saying, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." The voice is comfort, the call brings with it great strength in every tone, the battle is already won; whilst our Master speaks to us we rise like men enriched with answered prayer. We love thy tabernacles, thou God of Zion; our souls have a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord. There we find great liberty; there we spread out our whole strength—no fold that is not rolled out to its fullest length; there we eat and drink abundantly; there the high festival of thy love makes us forget all weight, all burden. We are thine, bought with blood, sanctified by the Holy Ghost, made meet by thy grace to be partakers of the inheritance of life. We would know to whom we belong: we would see thy signature written upon our life, we would feel thy claim in our hearts urging us by sweetest persuasion of love to do some nobler deed. Thou hast led us to despise time and the earth, and all things we can see, when compared with the eternity of heaven and invisible realities. Thou dost train us by our impatience; our being kept so long outside the door that opens back upon the heavens is itself an education. We knock, and are not answered; we wait, and there is no reply; we linger through the night and are wet with heavy dews, still the door is not opened from within; but we wait, we still continue, we cannot go away; our standing at heaven"s gate helps us to do earth"s weary work. We have come to make many speeches to thee, because our hearts are many and our histories a great number. Hear the plaint of the sad and those who are ill at ease—disappointed men, vexed and troubled hearts, souls that love right, and wish evermore to walk in the light, and yet are hindered by those who ought to help them; men of feeble will, whose prayers break right off in the middle and fall down to earth again, who wish to do right and feel as if they could not, who put out their hand to the altar and quickly let it fall; men who are full of concern about health and business and domestic affairs and success and ability to live honestly in the sight of all men—things will not come right; if they are put right overnight, they are all wrong in the morning. These men are full of trouble, and they are like to fret themselves to do evil. The Lord have pity upon them and put an end to their vexation, lest it become a stumbling-block over which they fall and never can rise again. Thou dost train us by a way that is often weary. Our eyes are vexed by the prosperity of the wicked; our souls are full of wonder because they are not in trouble like other men. We cannot understand their fatness, their abundance of gold, and the innumerableness of their cattle; but thou hast surely set them in slippery places, and presently the tremendous solution will begin. We commit one another lo thy care. Draw us closer to thyself; speak as we are able to bear it; adapt the light to our vision, and when we would pray, let thy Spirit work mightily within us; teach the heart great words to express great desires. Qualify us every day for broader service, for more patient suffering, for deeper and more loving obedience; and when the little flame of life"s short day lies down and goes from human eyes quite spark out, may our souls hail thee in heaven"s eternal morning! Amen.

Not Now, But Afterwards

John 13:36

The whole verse reads thus:—"Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards." Children will have everything now: "afterwards" is a word that plagues them. It is a most mocking word: it points to a time that can never come: it may be tomorrow, or next year; but whether to morrow or next year, it lies beyond the vision and beyond the range of the little grasping hand. As life advances we become more intimately acquainted with the word "afterwards," and, indeed, we come to like it. As for time, it is nothing: we begin to touch the meaning of the august expression, "A thousand years are as one day." We know that nothing is so near as the future; we know that yesterday is gone beyond recall, and that tomorrow is always coming and is always available. It is the mystery and the charm of this little life. How throughout the whole of this chapter Jesus Christ is Lord and Master! The title fills the whole chapter, gives nobleness to all the Divine speeches, covers with tender radiance all the interviews which Jesus Christ conducts on this day of shadows with his wonder-struck and fear-troubled disciples. It is a master"s tone delivered with a brother"s heart and voice which says, "Not now, but afterwards." This is the second time in the chapter that Jesus Christ has said the same thing to the same man. Simon Peter was never more impatient than within the lines of this chapter. Said Hebrews, "What is the meaning of this feet-washing? I do not know what thou doest"; and the answer was: "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Then again he comes before us: "Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards." So this child-man was constantly put back and told to wait till the clock struck and the hour had Come when he should have the keener vision, the more sensitive heart, the more receptive spirit and understanding mind. This was the training Peter needed: Peter was a man who wanted everything to be done instantaneously.; there must be no waiting; tomorrow must contrive to push itself into this day, and everything which the impatient heart desired must be supplied the moment the desire was expressed. The Lord, knowing this, always said to him, "Not now," that most vexing and teasing word. We want it now; we could do well with it now; it seems to us as if this were the very time to have it; and when we are in that high blood—mad with impatience—he quietly, with sovereignly tone, says, "Not now." He says it as from a throne, there is no halting or incertitude in his way of saying it; at first he taught with authority, and not as the scribes, and now, the shadows gathering around him quickly into darkest night, he still speaks with the authority which at first made him conspicuous. This is a grand doctrine; who can receive it? We have to be drilled into it; patience of this kind is not born in us. Blessed be God, we can be chastened and mellowed into the reception of the doctrine that afterwards is greater than now, and that not to have an afterwards is to be imprisoned and impoverished. Jesus Christ lived in tomorrow; early in his ministry he said, "Hereafter ye shall see."

Look at this in the direction of revelation. We cannot follow any great Scriptural doctrine now in all the range of its thought, in all the scope of its imagination, in all the possibilities of its issues. Who can explain the Atonement? The angels desire to look into it; the Voice from above says, "Not now, but afterwards." We begin in the right spirit when we begin in the spirit of waiting. Personally, I accept the Cross, but cannot explain it; personally, I need the Atonement by a necessity for which there are no words, but which presses upon my heart with all the gnawing agony of hunger. It cannot tell the quality of the blood, the measure of the oblation, the efficacy of the sacrifice. It is called "precious blood," it is called "self-sacrifice": the words dimly hint to me a meaning very gracious and comforting; what they imply in all the compass of their thought I know not now, but shall know afterwards. Is there then an afterwards for me, a higher school, a brighter day. additional facilities, closer intercourse with things and spirits and forces Divine? To be assured of that is to know the meaning of the mystery, "Death is abolished."

Or look at the same doctrine in relation to the mysteries of daily providence. "Thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards," the direction not being from one locality to another, from one point of space to another, but a following in thought, purpose, meaning, and sovereign decree—a mighty flying after God, a keeping up pari passu with the great Walker, whose way is in the whirlwind and in the cloud. I limp now, halt and stagger and fall and half rise again and am down before I can straighten myself; I cannot follow, except in the dim, far distance now, but afterward—. We want to know why we were made as we are—so singular, constituted so mysteriously, with a will so easily led, with passions so instantly ignited, with dispositions now rising upwards, now flinging downwards, with a life that seems all forms; why not have been made otherwise, dear Lord,—with stronger wills, with tenderer hearts, without perversity, without selfishness? And the Voice says, "Not now, but afterwards shalt thou know." This individuality is a heavy burden; this personal secret of the Almighty, which every man carries in his heart, is a most tormenting fire. An explanation will help us to bear it. To think that if we had been just otherwise made, in some line or curve of being, with an additional element, with a certain quality that is omitted from our constitution, we should have prayed ourselves into answers and have lifted ourselves by the power of intercession into the temple where there are no clouds, no nights, but where the interviews are face to face with hand locked in hand. We want to know why; it would comfort us to have some hint of meaning, and the only reply we can elicit is—"Not now, but afterwards." Why this suffering? Who did sin, I or my parents, that this burden is laid upon me—a burden for which I have certainly no light and certainly no strength? But for it, I could fly; with it, I am buried every day. What a life would yours be but for the one thing that enters the soul like iron! Old age could never touch you but for one thing. It is that that one thing that takes the erectness out of your figure, and makes your hair white in a night, and ploughs your cheeks into great furrows through which the tear rivers roll. A hundred times have I heard you say, "But for that I could sleep soundly all night, and be cheerful all day; the eating of bread would be a sacrament and the going out of the house an eager hastening to fight for God and the truth; why should I have had this chain upon my feet, this manacle upon my hand, this black night shadow bound round my poor eyes? Why?" And the answer is: "Not now, but afterwards." "No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

There cannot be an afterwards of revelation unless there is a now of obedience. The now is not evacuated of all meaning, stripped of all urgency, and turned into a blank nothing; now has its agony, now has its immediate fight. To obey in the darkness is the great thing. Were I to say, "I will trust God in the seventh trouble because he has delivered me in six," I should be saying something hardly worth saying. There is a subtle selfishness in that verbal piety; there is a most suspicious selfishness about that reasoning, though it sounds so holy. Hear it: "He hath delivered me in six troubles, and in seven he will be with me." The testimony in itself is good, and is sincere, because it is historically true and is meant to be full of solace from the historical side; but do not make too much of it as a test of growth in grace. Who then has grown in grace? This man who says, "Though he slay me, yet will I put my trust in him." That is faith. If you tell me that you have been so reduced, that you know not how to turn, and at the very moment of extremity light appeared and deliverance was wrought out, and therefore you intend to hope even under similar circumstances, your speech within narrow limits is perfectly good; it is a most valid testimony, but it is no necessary sign of growth in grace. This I want to be able to say: "I have nothing, I know not in what direction to turn, and if nothing should remain nothing, my hymn shall still be sung; though the fig-tree shall not blossom—I don"t say, though there be a late harvest of figs, but though the fig-tree shall not blossom—I will be as pious as ever." That is growing in grace, that is maturity in the life Divine, and that is the lesson which we learn now; the afterwards is not in that particular lesson: it is the agony, the stinging fire of the immediate moment. How many persons make a deep mistake here! They think they are pious because, having been delivered out of six troubles, they feel sure they will be delivered out of the seventh. That may be a species of profanity; on the other hand, it may be the testimony of a grateful heart. But this is piety—to have nothing in the right hand, nothing in the left, nothing in the world, and then not to pray, which is a beggar"s attitude, but to sing, which is a child"s and a prince"s posture. This is the miracle of God; this is the ideal attainment. We are bound to keep it steadily before our dazzling eyes; we count not ourselves to have attained: far from it; but this one thing we do—we press toward the mark. We know our selfishness better than any other men know it, and we mourn it, but seem as if we could not get rid of it; yet the grace of God is equal to this miracle. Song of Solomon, whilst we pray, we will sing; and whilst we mourn, we will also hope.

Obedience now is revelation afterward. We shall know if we follow on to know. He that doeth the will shall know of the doctrine. Obedience is preparation for revelation. Blessed is that servant who shall be found watching, waiting, when his Lord cometh; verily, I say unto you, he will put keys into that servant"s hand, and call him to honour, and sit him in inner places, and make a son of him. "Mine, then, is a drudging life." Be it so. "I have to keep beating at this door so—no sign of opening." No matter. "The Lord told me to knock, and here I am knocking, knocking, knocking; I want to fly, but he says, "Knock"; I want to go inside, and hold festival with the angels, but he tells me to knock." Obedience prepares the mind for Revelation, takes out of that revelation trie light that would dazzle the spirit"s vision, and prepares the heart to receive wider demonstrations of the sovereignty and grace of God. We must be blind three days before we begin to see the outlines of things; we must lie down as blind, helpless creatures, simply and lovingly waiting for any prophet God may send to us to open our eyes and teach us our first lesson in the higher alphabet. This does not suit us: we want to walk more quickly, pass on, because we are measuring time by a false chronometer. We do not know the joy which is laid up for us in complete obedience to the word, "Stand still and see the salvation of God." There is marvellous graciousness in a gradual revelation. If "the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day," it is because his spiritual education is imaged by that same fair symbol. The next piece of knowledge comes easily. Were the child to be compelled to overleap seven years of the process of education, and to commence a lesson which lies seven years ahead of the page he is reading today, he would be overcome with fear, and no strength would be left in him. What the child has to do is to read the next line, and then to turn over the next page. What we, as Christian students, have to do is to keep to the present truth, obey the immediate duty, do the work that lies next and easily to hand; and then the revelation will, so to say, steal upon us, and then encompass us without the violence of haste and without the unrest of surprise. We cannot tell how the light grows in the heavens. In the morning it is seed-time, and at noonday the harvest fields of the firmament are white with an abundance of result; hardly is the morning seed-time past than the noontide harvest is ripe. So in mental illumination and in spiritual culture and growth. We shall know when we receive our last accession of truth. God"s accessions are known by various names—sometimes by the starting up in the mind of a distinct fact; sometimes by the gift of an impression; sometimes by the prick of a new impulse; sometimes by the glow of a new ambition; sometimes by a mysterious, profound, all-calming peace. But when the accession comes—be it under this name or under that, the great fire, shocks of whirlwind, tumults of thunder, or a still small voice—we shall have no doubt about its identity. Divinity cannot be successfully imitated.

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Bibliographical Information
Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on John 13:36". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/john-13.html. 1885-95.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Ver. 36. "Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord, whither goest Thou? Jesus answered him. Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards."

What Jesus had said concerning love had gone straight to Peter's heart, and the more as he had taken a prominent part in the contention which had given rise to the exhortation. But there was something in the Lord's words which smote him still more keenly: Christ had spoken of His speedy departure. On this point he earnestly desired more light; and, as the Lord's answer shows, in order that he might actively interfere, and unite his destiny with Christ's. Whither goest Thou? If Thou goest unto death, I will go with Thee: compare the word of Thomas in ch. John 11:16; and Elisha's word to Elijah in 2 Kings 2:4; 2 Kings 2:6 : "As the Lord liveth, I will not leave thee." The "canst not" in our Lord's answer has a psychological reason. Before Peter could die for Christ, Christ must have died for him, and have obtained for him by His death the Holy Spirit, who is, with other attributes, a Spirit of might. August.: Quid festinas, Petre? nondum te suo spiritu solidavit Petra. There were also other reasons for that inability. In God's counsel, Peter, before he followed his Lord in death, must strengthen his brethren, and feed the lambs of Christ. But that the inability was connected with the state of Peter's mind, is evident, as from the answer of Peter, so also from a comparison of Matthew: there "thou canst not follow Me now" is followed by "All ye shall be offended in Me this night."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 13:36". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-13.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

36.Lord, whither goest thou? This question is founded on that saying of Christ,

I said to the Jews, that whither I go you cannot come, so now I say to you,
(
John 13:33.)

From this it is evident how ignorant Peter was, who, after having been so frequently warned about Christ’s departure, was as greatly perplexed as if he had heard something new. Yet in this respect we are too like him; for we hear daily from the mouth of Christ all that is fitted for usefulness in life, and all that is necessary to be known, and, when we come to practice, we are as much astonished as apprentices to whom not a word had ever been spoken. Besides, Peter shows that he is under the influence of an immoderate desire of Christ’s bodily presence; for he reckons it absurd that, while he remains, Christ shall go elsewhere.

Whither I go. By these words Christ restrains Peter’s excessive desire. His language is concise, as becomes a Master, but immediately softens the hardness of his statement. He shows that it will only be for a time that he shall be separated from his disciples. We are taught by this passage to subject all our desires to God, that they may not go beyond their proper bounds; and if at any time they become extravagant and foolish, let us at least submit to be held in by this bridle. That we may not lose courage, let us avail ourselves of the consolation which is immediately added, when Christ promises that we shall one day be gathered to him.

But thou shalt follow me afterwards. He means that Peter is not yet ripe for bearing the cross, but, like corn still in the blade, must be formed and strengthened by the progress of time, that he may follow. We ought therefore to pray to God to carry forward to a higher degree of excellence what he has begun in us. In the meantime, we must creep, till we are able to run more swiftly. Now as Christ bears with us, while we are tender and delicate, so let us learn not to reject weak brethren, who are still very far from the goal. It is desirable, indeed, that all should run with the greatest eagerness, and we ought to encourage all to quicken their pace; but if there are any who walk more slowly, we ought to hope well concerning them, provided that they keep the road.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 13:36". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-13.html. 1840-57.