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You, Not Somebody Else

John 21:20-23
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." Because of this, the rumour spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?" (NIV)

Peter had a big horizon. He could think ‘out of the box’. And that would prove to be a blessing at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit used his big personality to be the first preacher of the gospel. However, on this occasion, having been told by the Lord that his life would end by crucifixion (John 21:18-19), Peter then wanted to know if John would also be crucified. But Jesus refused to tell him.
Jesus said that John would do whatever He chose for him; but that information was private. Even if John was to remain alive until the Second Coming, what difference should that make to Peter? It sounded to the disciples like a promise of John’s longevity (although it was not); but Peter was ordered not to be deflected from following Jesus - however difficult it might be, and whatever might happen to the other disciples. John’s future was not his business … “What is that to you?” Jesus said.
Although it is important to be aware of people around us and to be concerned for them, we can sometimes get more involved in the lives of others than getting on with the work which the Lord has set before us. Whatever our interest in others, and our sense of responsibility for them, our first priority is to follow the Lord ourselves. Even our Bible readings should find their first target inside our own hearts, rather than thinking, ‘that is a good verse for someone else’! Each of us is solely accountable to the Lord for our own lives and for fulfilling the commissions He gives to us. There are times when God’s dealings with other people are not our business; but it is always right for us to follow Jesus wholeheartedly, whatever the cost.

Dear Lord and Master. Thank You for calling me to follow Jesus. That is a great privilege. I am sorry when I have been diverted into being more concerned about the way others are following Him. Please help me to value Your call upon my life and to learn to be obedient to whatever You command me to do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams