"Peter answered and said unto him,
Though all men
shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before
the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny
thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith
unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be
sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding
sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying,
O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless
not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Who decides what happens to us, to our soul, when we die? Simply put,
once we have died in the flesh, that ends all chances of decisions being made on our behalf by
ourselves or anyone else. What happens to us after we die is the result
of decisions made BEFORE that event. Ultimately, only we ourselves can
make a choice to come to Jesus. Absolutely no one else can do that for
Before we die, we have the opportunity to use the power of free choice
that God has given us. He urges us, throughout our lifetime, to accept
His grace and gift of salvation in Christ. Jesus is always ready to
receive us; but the choice to accept Him is ours alone to make.
In the verses just prior to the Scripture quoted above, Jesus has told the
disciples they will deny Him. Peter
emphatically tells Jesus that he will never deny his Master, in verse
33. The Lord replies that He will be denied by Peter in particular.
Peter continues to avow his loyalty in verse 35, but Jesus knows the
hearts of men. Believe this, He knows what's in your heart as well.
At Gethsemane, Jesus walks a short way from the disciples, taking Peter
Him. A few steps farther, Jesus falls down in prayer and asks His
Father - "if it is possible" -
to change what is about to happen. Still,
Jesus denies His wishes for Himself and accepts God's control over
matters - "nevertheless
not as I will, but as thou wilt."
Similarly, we may trust God and pray for His protection for ourselves,
our families, our circumstances and more. As Christians, we ask for His
leadership in our life. But both Christians and non-Christians often,
indeed usually, for whatever reasons refuse to accept what God may want
for us and instead choose a course for ourselves. Want to guess the
on whether the choices we make for ourselves are as good as God's are?
And what if someone doesn't believe in heaven and hell; eternal union
versus eternal separation from Him? God is not optional, and
not believing in
heaven and hell does not mean that He doesn't exist. God loves us
enough that He sent His Son (John 3:16) to die
for those who accept the Lord as
Savior; we are the ones who are optional. We alone make the choice
between the two options God puts in front of us.
Ignoring God's call to our heart and soul is playing with eternal
hellfire. Once we are dead, our destiny results from the choices we
have already made. Our eternal situation is ours to choose. Jesus may
be calling to you at this moment; heed His call.
information and references may be posted at a later date; check back
a 2003 series titled "Questions - and
about Everyone's Life," by Len Hamilton. Please reference use of any
elsewhere to this website and its author.
© Len Hamilton