Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 13:37

Peter *said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Confidence;   False Confidence;   Jesus Continued;   Love;   Peter;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ignorance;   Self, Ignorance of;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Peter;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Soul;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Peter;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Foot;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Denial;   Name (2);   Pilgrim (2);   Soul;   Upper Room (2);   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Judas;   Passover;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Life;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for November 17;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Why cannot I follow thee now? - Peter probably thought that our Lord intended to go some long journey, which would necessarily subject him to many inconveniences and fatigue; and he felt quite disposed to follow him in this supposed journey, at all hazards. He saw no reason, because he did not see our Lord's meaning, why he could not follow him now.

I will lay down my life for thy sake - Poor Peter! thou wast sincere, but thou didst not know thy own strength. Thou wast at this time willing to die, but when the time cams wast not able. Christ must first die for Peter, before Peter can die for him. Let no man think he can do any thing good, without the immediate assistance of God. Peter's denial should be an eternal warning to all self-confident persons: though there be sincerity and good will at the bottom, yet in the trial these cannot perform that office which belongs to the power of God. We should will, and then look to God for power to execute: without him we can do nothing.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 13:37". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-13.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Peter saith unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee even now? I will lay down my life for thee.

Peter's sincerity was so genuine that he could not understand why Jesus did not accept his intentions as fact. However, Peter had only mortal and imperfect knowledge of his own strength, whereas Jesus had full knowledge of all things; and Peter's unwillingness to accept Jesus' words revealed the weakness in Peter even in this moment of his boldest assertion of strength. His bold assertion of willingness to lay down his life for Jesus had a contradictory note in it, being squarely opposed to what Jesus had just said of his not being able now to follow Jesus. No disparagement of Peter's love should enter our thoughts; because, before life was over, he would make good the promise here, a promise impossible for him to keep until later; but a promise he would nevertheless honor with his martyrdom.

Copyright Statement
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 13:37". "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

Peter said unto him,.... Not understanding Christ's answer, and being dissatisfied with it, inquires:

Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? is the place inaccessible? are the difficulties in the way to it insuperable? the roughness of the road, or the dangers of it, will not discourage me; I am ready to go through the greatest dangers and difficulties, to follow thee: yea,

I will lay down my life for thy sake; whatever enemies I should meet with in, following thee, would not dismay me; I would readily hazard my life, and cheerfully lay it down in defence of thee.

Copyright Statement
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 13:37". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

why not … now? I will lay down my life for thy sake — He seems now to see that it was death Christ referred to as what would sever Him from them, but is not staggered at following Him thither. Jesus answered,

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-13.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

“Why can I not follow thee even now?” (δια τι ου δυναμαι σοι ακολουτειν αρτιdia ti ou dunamai soi akolouthein arti). The use of αρτιarti (right now, this minute) instead of νυνnun (at this time, John 13:36) illustrates the impatience of Peter.

I will lay down my life for thee (τεν πσυχην μου υπερ σου τησωten psuchēn mou huper sou thēsō). Future active indicative of τιτημιtithēmi Peter, like the rest, had not yet grasped the idea of the death of Christ, but, like Thomas (John 11:16), he is not afraid of danger. He had heard Christ‘s words about the good shepherd (John 10:11) and knew that such loyalty was the mark of a good disciple.

Copyright Statement
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 13:37". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Now ( ἄρτι )

Without waiting for a future time. See on John 13:33, and compare νῦν nowin John 13:36.

I will lay down my life

See on John 10:11.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-13.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

Peter saith unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee even now? I will lay down my life for thee.

  1. Lord, why cannot I follow thee even now? I will lay down my life for thee. Peter, grieved at the prospect of separation, can see no reason why he should not follow, since he is willing to pass even through the portal of the grave that he may do so. Though perhaps prevented by no moral inability, he was prevented by the plan of life which God had designed for him. It was not in accordance with the divine will that he should die at this time.

Copyright Statement
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 13:37". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Почему я не могу идти за Тобою теперь? Этими словами Петр выдает, что тяжело воспринял ответ Христа. Христос имел в виду, что Петра удерживает собственная немощь. А отсюда заключает, что следовать за Ним Петру мешает собственный порок. Однако это никак не убеждает Петра. По природе все люди напыщенны и уповают на собственные силы. Посему слова Петра показывают, что мы больше должного приписываем нашим усилиям. Люди дерзают приступать ко всему, не попросив прежде помощи Божией, но ничего не могут при этом сделать.

 

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-13.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

37 Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.

Ver. 37. I will lay down, &c.] Peter was melius semper animatus quam armatus, better affected than appointed. His heart deceived him, as did David’s, Psalms 39:1-2. He said he would look to his ways, bridle his tongue, &c. But soon after he broke his word, "My heart was hot within me." Petrus se Christo opposuit, se caeteris praeposuit, sibi totum imposuit. Chrysost.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 13:37". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-13.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

John 13:37

The Withheld Completions of Life

There are certain conditions which are to all good life just what the flower is to the plant. They furnish it its natural completion. They crown its struggles with a manifest success. These conditions of peace and pleasure are the life's success. But when the life, conscious of the character out of which these conditions ought to come, finds that they do not come, finds that it pauses on the brink of its completion and cannot blossom, then comes bewilderment, then come impatient questionings and doubts. This is the state of many lives, especially about religious things.

I. In answer to our wondering question "What does it mean?" there are two things to be said. The first is this: that such a suspension of the legitimate result, this failure of the flower to complete the plant, does show beyond all doubt a real condition of disorder. The world is broken and disordered, that is the first thing that is meant when you help men, and they scorn you, when the world's benefactors are neglected or despised. And secondly, there is a blessing which may come to a man even out of the withholding of the legitimate completion of his service. It may throw him back upon the nature of the act itself, and compel him to find his satisfaction there.

II. The plant grows on towards its appointed flower, but before the blossom comes some hand is laid upon it, and the day of its blossoming is delayed. The emotional and affectional conditions are the natural flower of the wills and dedications of our life. But we resolve, we dedicate ourselves, and though the prophecy and the hope immediately begin to assert themselves all through us, the joy, the peace, the calmness of assurance, does not come. The ideal life, the life of full completions, haunts us all. Nothing can really haunt us except what we have the beginning of, the native capacity for, however hindered, in ourselves. Jesus does not blame Peter when he impetuously begs that he may follow Him now. He bids him wait and he shall follow Him some day. But we can see that the value of his waiting lies in the certainty that he shall follow, and the value of his following when it comes will be in the fact that he has waited. So if we take all Christ's culture, we are sure that our life on earth may get already the inspiration of the heaven for which we are training, and our life in heaven may keep for ever the blessing of the earth in which we were trained.

Phillips Brooks, Twenty Sermons, p. 19.


References: John 13:37.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iv., p. 416; J. Keble, Sermons for Holy Week, p. 36. John 13:37, John 13:38.—C. C. Bartholomew, Sermons Chiefly Practical, p. 103.



Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/john-13.html.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

37.] Peter understands our Lord’s death to be meant [as the time of his following]: see Luke 22:33.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 13:37". 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 13:37. ὑπὲρ σοῦ, for Thy sake) Nay, it was Jesus who would lay down His life for Peter’s sake.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 13:37". 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

Still Peter doth not understand our Saviour, but fancies some earthly motion from the place where he was; but it should seem by what followeth, that he thought our Saviour spake of some motion which might be very dangerous to him; and therefore he adds, according to his usual courage and mettle, expressed on all occasions,

I will lay down my life for thy sake: we had such a resolution of his, Matthew 26:33,35.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 13:37". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

37.Lay down my life—He is willing to encounter the ordeal if he can only be allowed to follow.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-13.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

John 13:37. Peter saith unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee even now? I will lay down my life for thee. Peter sees that in the words,’ Thou canst not follow me now,’ there lies the meaning that he is not yet morally prepared for following Jesus. His self-confidence is hurt by the suggestion; and not in devotion only, but in too high an estimate of his own readiness to meet every trial for the sake of the Master whom he loved, he cries out that he is ready to follow Him ‘even now,’—nay, that he is ready to lay down his life for Him. Such want of self-knowledge must be corrected.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on John 13:37". "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 13:37. This does not satisfy Peter. He sees it is some dangerous enterprise Jesus is undertaking, and he feels his courage discredited by the refusal to be allowed to accompany Him. . “Putasne ulla itineris molestia me terreri?” Grotius. “In the zeal of love he mistakes the measure of his moral strength.” Meyer. Mt. and Mk. represent all the disciples as making the same declaration (Matthew 26:35, Mark 14:31); which made it all the more necessary to expose its unconscious hollowness, painful as it must have been to Jesus to do so . “Wilt thou lay down ’? So far from that, you will deny me thrice before the morning.” . “Cock-crow” was used among the Jews as a designation of time (Lightfoot on Matthew 26:34); cf.Mark 13:35, where the night is divided into , , , . At the equinox cock-crow would be between 2 and 4 A.M. See Greswell’s Dissert., iii. 216. This was incomprehensible; how the night could bring circumstances so appalling as to tempt any of them, and compel the hardiest to deny Jesus, they could not conceive.

 

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 13:37". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-13.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

commandment was already in the old law, where it is written, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself; how then does our Saviour call it a new command? It is new, not because we simply love one another; but because we love one another, as he has loved us: not as men love one another, as being fellow creatures, but united in love, as being all the children of the Most High; that so we may be brethren to his only begotten Son, bearing to all the same love that he has borne to us. (St. Augustine, tract. 64. in Joan.) --- By this shall I moreover know that you truly love me. (Bible de Vence)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 13:37". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

now = just now. Greek. arti.

lay down, &c. Compare John 10:11, John 10:15; John 15:13. 1 John 3:16.

life. Greek. psuche. App-110.

for Thy sake = on behalf of (Greek. huper. App-104.) Thee.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 13:37". "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

Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake. Peter said ('saith') unto him, Why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake, [ huper (Greek #5228) sou (Greek #4675)] - 'for Thee.' He seems now to see that it was death Christ referred to as what would sever Him from them, but is not staggered at following Him there. Dear soul! It was thy heart's true and conscious affection for thy Master that prompted this speech, rash and presumptuous though it was.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 13:37". "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

(37) Lord, why cannot I follow thee now?—True to his impulsive, self-confident character, St. Peter is impatient of the delay imposed upon him. He is ready, in the fulness of his love, now, and does not dream that in the moment of trial he will be found wanting.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
why
21:15; Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-34; Acts 20:24; 21:13
Reciprocal: Ruth 1:16 - whither;  Mark 8:34 - follow;  Mark 10:39 - We;  Luke 9:57 - a certain;  Luke 22:33 - I am;  John 11:16 - Let;  John 16:23 - ask;  John 21:19 - Follow;  1 Corinthians 13:3 - though I give;  Revelation 14:4 - which follow

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 13:37". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-13.html.

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

Ver. 37. "Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake."

As Peter could not follow Christ, so likewise he was ignorant of himself, and estimated his own strength far too highly. True self-knowledge could come to him only in consequence of the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit searcheth all things, the deep things of God, and the deep things of the human heart. Nevertheless, Peter was like the young eagle, which is beginning to stir its wings. Of such stuff were the martyrs formed, when the full possession of the Holy Ghost was added. The spirit was already willing, though the flesh was weak: the strength was small, the will was good. Aug.: Quid in animo ejus esset cupiditatis videbat, quid virium non videbat.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on John 13:37". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/john-13.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

37.Why cannot I follow thee now? By these words Peter declares that he was dissatisfied with Christ’s answer. He is aware that he has been warned of his own weakness, from which he concludes that it is his own fault that hinders him from following Christ immediately; but he is not at all convinced of it, for mankind are naturally puffed up with confidence in their own value. This expression of Peter shows the opinion which we entertain from our very birth, which is, that we attribute more to our own strength than we ought to do. The consequence is, that they who can do nothing venture to attempt every thing, without imploring the assistance of God.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 13:37". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-13.html. 1840-57.