I have enjoyed reading and meditating on the book of John. Obviously a number of you have enjoyed it, too. In this last passage there are many messages that we could spend all day studying, but there is one question Jesus asks Peter that stands out to me today, “What is that to you?”
When we are in the midst of our journeys on this earth it is far too easy for us to compare what we are being and doing for God with what another person is trying to be and do for God. Jesus takes one more moment to reprimand Peter, in a way, so that he will think only about the work Jesus, himself, has commissioned Peter to do. Peter is NOT the only one who loses focus easily. We are guilty of this, too.
Maybe that’s why Jesus asks the same question to Peter three times! Parents do this when we are trying to make a point that sticks, we repeat it until we hear the frustrated cry from our own kids, “I got it!”
John 21, The Message
Do You Love Me?
15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”
20-21 Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
22-23 Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?”
24 This is the same disciple who was eyewitness to all these things and wrote them down. And we all know that his eyewitness account is reliable and accurate.
25 There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books.
Here’s what I am hearing…
Seriously, Peter, to love, feed and shepherd my people, you must stay focused, with your eyes on Me, following My guidance and help. The road will not be easy, YOUR journey will have pitfalls, valleys and mountaintop experiences. Ultimately, you will die for me, glorifying God our Father. But I assure you, it will be worth it all…do you love me? Peter? Do what I have given ONLY you to do. Don’t look around at others, “what is that to you?”, instead look up to Me.
What do we learn from this passage?
–Do and be only what God created you to be and do.
–Don’t fall for the sin of comparison that leads to doing or being someone God did not intend for you to be. A bi-product is depression from what you think is failure.
–Glorify God in all that we do. Follow Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Your story is always all about you and how we can glorify You with our very lives! Thank you for teaching us as we read Your story and how you relate to others. We cannot be Peter or John, but we can be and do what You created us to be and do. Thank you for the work of salvation working through our veins. Thank you for the guidance and comfort of Your Holy Spirit of peace. Thank you, dear Heavenly Father for sending Your Son so we could come back to You, free of sin.
In Jesus Name, go with us this day, Amen. I believe.