Peter and John

Peter turned and saw Jesus’ favorite disciple following them. He was the same one who had sat next to Jesus at the meal and had asked, “Lord, who is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw that disciple, he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “What is it to you, if I want him to live until I return? You must follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the other disciples that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say he would not die. He simply said, “What is it to you, if I want him to live until I return?”     John 21:20-23 (CEV)

I’m looking at some relationships in the Bible this week. I think God is building on His lesson to me yesterday: His teachings are simple but often not easy to bring into my life.

The Bible does not give me in depth biographies of the people. The people are there to reflect and bear witness to God, not themselves. But I can learn about these people through their relationship with God.

To me, Peter and John seem very different men. In my mind’s eye, Peter is big and very athletic. He is a man of action. In the gospels I do not get the impression that he is a deep thinker who considers the consequences of his actions before he acts! John, in my mind, is younger by several years than the other 11 disciples. He is quiet and gentle and yet he wants to be counted equally in the group. Both of these men are perceived by the gospel writers to be two of the three inner circle who are present at the Transfiguration and when Jesus raises the young girl from death. And then, at the end of John’s gospel, I read these few verses and sense a tension might have been between Peter and John throughout their relationship. Could it have come from John’s proclamation that he is “the disciple that Jesus loved”? Peter was noted by Jesus to be the Rock that He would build His Church, a leader certainly. In these verses, Peter puts his attention on the plans Jesus had for John instead reflecting on what Jesus had just said to him about taking care of His sheep (John 21:15-19).

Too often my eyes and focus are drawn to what other people are doing in God’s Kingdom instead of tending to my God-given mission. Their jobs may seem easier or more important, more visible. I may even see their mission is to support others and wonder why they aren’t supporting me.

Jesus does not mince words in His response to Peter’s inquiry about John’s work. “What is it to you? You must follow Me.” Jesus is telling me to keep my eyes on Him and the path He is leading me on. What others are doing – that is between Him and them.

Peter must have learned from Jesus’ rebuke because there is no mention of John in his letters. And John does not mention Peter in his letters. They kept their focus on Christ and His Kingdom. I want to take that lesson to my heart today.

Now the end of all things is near;therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, it should be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, it should be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To Him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.      1 Peter 4:7-11 (HCSB)

Be Thou My Vision written by Dallán Forgaill and sung by Alison Krauss



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