Sunday was the conclusion of the “AFTERWORDS” (words Jesus spoke after his resurrection) series. Here’s one more “AFTERWORDS” gem, that never made it into the sermon on Sunday, but is to good to miss. After Jesus predicted the future martyrdom of Peter, Peter came back with a question that is so typical of most of us as Jesus Followers. Here it is from the end of John Chapter 21.
18 “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.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” 20 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?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” 22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
Did you catch that?
Jesus: Peter, some day you’ll give your life because of me.
Peter: (Looking around) What about John? What’s going to happen to him? I’m not the only one getting martyred am I? Please tell me I’m not the only one getting the full martyrdom package…
ALL of us at some time want to make sure we’re not “the only one”. We compare circumstances (both blessings and trials) with others. We want to know why another of Jesus’ follower seems to be having a “happy happy happy” life when were going through intense testing and pain. All of us “look around” at times and wonder if someone else is having an easier or more blessed experience as a Jesus Follower.
Jesus’ answer was clear. It was concise. It still rings true today. “None of your business…you just worry about following me.”
The Apostle John didn’t live for ever. He died an old man after years of lonely exile and the torture of having survived an intended execution by boiling oil. Peter was crucified. Both men left an incredible legacy that we still follow in the church today. Both left writings that still encourage and inspire us today. Both men followed Jesus well until the end. All because they followed the “not so gentle…but really helpful” words of Jesus. The same words we all need to remember when we begin to “look around” and compare our circumstances with other Jesus followers:
“ what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” -Jesus