What's It To You?
19 August 2016
Reading: Jeremiah 45-47; Psalm 105; John 21
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (John 21:22-23 NLT)
This isn’t the first time this little story has been my focus for the day and it probably won’t be the last! This is a lesson that I have to learn over and over again and then be reminded of in between times!
Jesus was walking along the beach with Peter and having an important conversation that would help to resolve some issues from the past and to clarify direction for the future. This was a defining moment for Simon Peter and the entire Christian Church. Jesus had just restored Peter to his role as an apostle of the Good News and told him how he would die for his faith. In this powerful moment, Peter was distracted by John following them as they walked along, and asked what would happen to John in the future.
Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question is a message I need to hear over and over again, whenever I wonder why God seems to be dealing differently with others, why they don’t go through what I go through, and why they seem to have it so easy when I struggle so much. By the way, the reality is that I have it very easy, compared to others of Jesus’ followers who are facing challenges I can barely imagine!
And here’s another thing I frequently need to be reminded of! It’s obvious that some of the other disciples were eavesdropping on the conversation, because Jesus’ response to Peter’s question started a rumor that spread through the church and lasted until John died, many years later! What’s the lesson in this? When I try to interpret and figure out what God is saying to another believer, I’ll most always get it wrong.
The truth for me today: “What is that to you? You follow me!”
Father, I really want to do better about this. I think I’ve made some progress, but whenever I’m distracted from your plan for me and start wanting to know “What about him or her?”, please help me refocus. It’s nothing to me! I want to follow you. Amen.