The call to follow Jesus and be His disciple is not a call to comparison.
Is this why Jesus repeatedly questioned Peter about the measure of his love? Our love for God is not measured by that of others. Nor is this love measured against the love of things. The measure of our love of God is our love for His People. The Gospel calls all people to love God but many will not. We must love all people but our embrace of the Church is a deeper one. “Feed My sheep—tend My lambs—feed My sheep” must ring in our ears and propel our hearts.
John and Peter
As the morning sun continued its climb, Peter saw John standing by. His mind flashed back to their last supper and he remembered John leaning on Jesus. Did Peter envy the relationship John had with Jesus? Something prompted his question.
“But Lord, what about this man?”
It is a sad truth than men compete with each other and it may have been so with these two. Jesus had just predicted that Peter would someday follow Him in crucifixion. Peter wanted to know how John would fare in the days to come.
Jesus would entertain no such competition.
“If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
God’s plan for John was of no consequence to His plan for Peter. Peter’s job was to follow Jesus. Period. End of sentence. It is the same for us.
Unauthorized versions of this conversation went out misquoting Jesus to say that John would not die until Jesus returned. This is not what He said; Jesus said, “If…” We know that John was the last of the disciples to die. He lived to see a vision of the end-times and relate that vision to us in the Book of Revelation. In fact, the full record of the Jesus Story as told by John could be considered that book and the three letters John wrote to the church as well as his gospel account.
There was so much more that Jesus said and did than could ever be written in a single book. Our job and our joy is to read and read and read again the primary resources that tell us the Jesus Story. The whole Bible is about Him.
- He is the Living Word discovered in the supernatural pages of the Written Word.
- He is seen in type and shadow in the Old Testament Law and Histories.
- He is seen in what are called “theophanies” where the “Angel of the Lord” or some other divine, pre-incarnate Son of God visits the earth.
- He is celebrated as “The Lord” in the Psalms and other poetic books.
- He is the animating spirit of the prophets as they call the nation back to God and to His Covenant.
- He is Messiah, predicted to come and arriving on the scene, as the Old Covenant changed into the New Covenant.
- He is the hero of the Gospels and the book of Acts.
- His ways are the thesis of the New Testament letters.
- He is King of kings and Lord of lords in John’s Revelation.
Our job is to know and to follow Jesus.
Do not be ashamed!
Do not shrink back from the Jesus Story. It is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. Read it again and again. Seek the Christ of the Story, follow Him in all things. He wants to walk with you and in you by His Spirit. Live His story and others will find Him, too.
Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
Romans 1:16-17 NKJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Psalm 40:6-8 NKJV
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require. Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”
Hebrews 10:5-7 NKJV
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come — In the volume of the book it is written of Me — To do Your will, O God.'”
John 6:28-29 NKJV
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Lord Jesus, as the Psalmist and the writer to the Hebrews said, You have come “in the volume of the book written of You.” Thank You for words, for language that narrows truth down to a human tongue and for Your Word, which transcends all human language or thought. Though Your ways are indeed higher than mine and past finding out, Your Spirit enables me to understand holy things and, more than that, to appropriate them into my life. Tune my heart to heaven today so that I might sing with angels as I walk this earth with You. Amen. Alleluia!
Wonderful Words of Life
Words and Music: P. P. Bliss
1. Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life;
Let me more of their beauty see, wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty, teach me faith and duty:
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life;
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
wonderful words of life.
2. Christ, the blessed One, gives to all, wonderful words of life;
Sinner, list to the laving call, wonderful words of life;
all so freely given, wooing us to heaven:
3. Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life;
Offer pardon and peace to all, wonderful words of life;
Jesus, only Savior, sanctify forever.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved