What is that to you?

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Posted 11 Apr 2007 in Jesus, Light, Ministry, Scripture, Spirituality

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”

“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.

Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”

“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.

A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.

“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
~ John 21:15-22

Awhile back I downloaded a message Rob Bell gave at his Church – this passage the focus. He talks throughout about how in John’s Gospel we see this petty rivalry between John and Peter. John refers to himself as ‘The disciple Jesus loved’, he explains that he ran faster than Peter and arrived at Jesus’ empty tomb first, points out how Peter denies Jesus 3 times, to name a few.

I went to Easter Mass with my Dad when I was home and the priest referenced the passage of John running faster than Peter to the empty tomb only he painted it in the light of John’s young age and put some spin to the effect of John’s youth made him less wise than St. Peter – hinting at worth and spiritual maturity being greater in the older, wiser St. Peter.

So much comparison – measuring one man against another.

The challenging part of this passage comes when Jesus says “What is that to you?” He gives Peter a purpose, tells him what his life is meant for and alludes to how he’s going to die, but Peter is more concerned with what John gets. “What about him?”

This is the comparison game – what steals my joy and my peace – and “the disciple Jesus loved” and the disciple Jesus builds his church on are playing it. It is so far ingrained in my humanity it twists even the simplest things in life. I compare my stuff, my progress at work, my spirituality, how effective I am at teaching and leading, how I pray, how much I read my Bible, how smart I sound, how smart I am, how fast I run, how far I run, what I look like, how much money I make, how much money I give away, how many people read this blog, I’m sure I could type for the rest of the night and still have more to list.

The point is Jesus has given me a purpose (some might call it a calling but that’s too churchy sounding), I shouldn’t be concerned with what everyone else gets. Living like that is being content, it is being comfortable in your own skin, it is being who God made you to be.

He’s given each of us a purpose – we shouldn’t be asking “what about him?” because Jesus’ answer is “What is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

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