“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!””
Being a dad, I’m often asked “what about him/what about her?” The kids are always wondering if the other siblings are getting something more or better than the other. As a manager, this question comes up constantly, “what about this person? Why don’t they have to do the same things that I have to do?”
In our world we have become so accustomed to comparing ourselves and situations with others. I have been here many times comparing myself to others, but as I have grown and matured, I have a better understanding that the world is big enough for everyone.
In today’s passages in Ezra and John, there are a lot of opportunities to push through your circumstances or dwell on the blessings of others. In Ezra, the people of Israel are coming out of exile and are given their inheritance by rank and connection to their families. There is a part in the second chapter where there is not a clear connection with the families and the people can be separated, but everyone is granted access to the reclaimed promise, but not all of the status as wanted.
“The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their fathers’ houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel: These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but they were not found there, and so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.”
In John, this is the last recorded interaction with Jesus, Peter, and John. This particular passage resonates so well with me and many times in my life. Over the years, I have had awakenings and then I have reverted back to the old ways. We can see this with the disciples. They have had an amazing awakening and have seen the risen Christ and have decided to go back to their previous ways, fishing. They have seen Christ several times before and have received their blessings, but returned to their previous lives and paths. How many times have I had a revelation and returned to my previous path… too many times.
In the last scene, Jesus, Peter, and John are in the same vicinity. Jesus has just given Peter his final assignment and action plan….
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,“Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
“When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!””
But the one thing that is on Peter’s mind is “ what about him [John]?” So we have been given these gifts, but at the end of the day, we are still wondering what about “him”? In our flesh we are always thinking about the other person and not about the awesome gift that we have been given. We have to see with new eyes through the Spirit, the beauty and joy that has been given directly to us. We have to be able to lift up each other in spirit and be happy in the midst of our friends’ joy, then only can we be able to truly experience the journey that God has in store for us.