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John 21:20-23 “What about him?”

May 04 2020

John 21:20-23

“What about him?”

The very last story in the gospel of John is a curious one in light of the closing statement with regards to the apostle John’s witness of Jesus’ earthly ministry where he says in 21:25 “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, let me get this straight: You have unlimited stories that you can write about, but limited time and space and the Holy Spirit directs you to write in 21:20-23 about the problem of rivalry and competition in the church between you and Peter? These words are made even more interesting in light of the fact that Jesus had just restored Peter after his denial of Him!

Peter never lacked the conviction when he was young; what he lacked was the commitment and as he grew in the grace and knowledge of Jesus his commitment grew to his conviction which lead Peter to the cross. When Peter was young in the Lord he was prone to being carried away, but as he grew in his relationship with Jesus he would be carried off because of his commitment. Jesus words to Peter in John 21:15-19 were a manual on how to tend and feed the sheep and to do, he was going to have to die to self. The Lord doesn’t tell us that once we give our lives to Him that everything is going to work out up to our expectations. No, He says, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) Job cried in 13:15 “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” The word “Follow Me” can be rendered “Travel with Me”. Jesus is revealing to Peter that we are called to travel with Him, not blaze a new trail.

What John records Jesus saying about “rivalry and competition in the church” is that we do not have to worry about what others are doing as we only need to be faithful to what God has given us to do! Unfortunately, the church has not followed this and has continued in competing and struggling within itself, at the cost of diminishing its message, and destroying its effectiveness. Yet with the Jesus’ restoration still in the ear of Peter he literally asks Jesus, pointing at John,  “But this one, what?” It seems Peter just didn’t get John, they were opposites. Jesus called Peter to travel with Him and Peter wants to know if John is going as well. What does it matter who travels along with us as long as we are going with Jesus! Jesus' word is, "That is none of your business. Follow me." How simple, how beautiful that is! How effective the church would become if we would return to it. I’m afraid that far too much of our focus is upon the Lord’s other servants and not enough upon ourselves.

For the most part we have no idea what it is to live in someone’s else’s world. What I have come to believe is that Jesus has placed me in the right place for He alone knows what is best for me. That is how we can understand why the Lord deals with His children differently. It’s because we are different. So now we can stop thinking we are being crucified while the other person is cruising along! The truth is that their cruising may be far more difficult than my being crucified! So, remember Jesus says, don’t compare just follow Me.        

This has been Pastor Dale, Blessings!