Are You “All In”?

 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. 33 Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’ 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

36 Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him,“Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.”37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times. –John 13:31-38

2014 Portfolio Review @ NWHPC

A close-up detail of the hands of the crucifix which is in the chapel at St. John Lutheran Church, in Cypress, Texas

Perhaps you know someone who is “all in” – as a sports fan, a golfer, a photographer, a seamstress, gardener, or quilter. He has all the gadgets. She has all the supplies. In fact, I recall seeing where a friend designed a sewing/quilting area for his wife with a level of organization and supply that made me want to take up the craft! People give their hearts and lives to things that entertain, refresh, or enlighten others.

Jesus was all in for the glory of God. He knew what it would take for him to bring ultimate glory to God, and he sought to prepare his disciples for that as well. Part of that glory would be his obedience to the Father’s will that he would offer himself as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. Another part of that glory would be that his disciples would obey his command to love one another.

Certainly this was on Peter’s mind when he offered to be all in for Jesus, even to the point of laying down his life for Jesus. Peter, himself, was all in for Jesus as far as he was concerned. He would be willing to go the ultimate distance to show his allegiance. When he offered his bravado-inspired assurance of his “all in” bona fides, Jesus brings him up short. He wouldn’t make it through the night without denying Jesus three times.

Of course we know the story. Peter will deny Jesus three times. The rooster will crow. Peter will weep. But this will not deter Jesus. Nor will it even remove Peter from the realm of Jesus’ love and redemption. Peter will have to be restored; we will see that in John 21. For a time, Peter is singled out, when the time comes to announce Jesus’ resurrection to his disciples: “Go tell his disciples and Peter” (Mark 16:7).

But Jesus died for all people, precisely because we are not all in for him. We all fail at one point or another in our lives. We may have all the accoutrements of a solid Christian walk: Bibles and journals at the ready, a curriculum vitae that lists one accomplishment after another of kingdom wins and accomplishments. But we also have those dark places where fear, selfishness, willfulness, or rebellion took us out of the “all in” category. That’s why we have a Savior, for we have a God who is all in for us and for our forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. Thanks be to God!

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