Peter turned and saw 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.’John 21: 20-21
Yesterday we read from John 21: 15-17 and reflected on the fact that the living Jesus has brought us to this point in our lives, whatever that may be. He has brought us here that we would feed his sheep. That we would serve in the kingdom of God.
This morning in our reading, Peter, having been reinstated by Jesus, looked over his shoulder and saw his friend and fellow apostle, John, following them. Peter did what we are all good at doing. He asked, ‘What about him?‘ It was as though Peter wasn’t content with what Jesus had said to him, he wanted to know how he would compare to John.
This is the sort of thing I used to get told off for when I was small. I would be asked to do something, then look over my shoulder and ask, ‘what about my brother?’ In fairness I used to get the same short shift that Jesus gave Peter. ‘What is that to you?‘
It is all to easy to get distracted by other people or other places. We look longingly at another church with more modern worship, bigger youth programs or larger congregations or newer buildings. We see the work of other Christians and their apparent success. Jesus response is simple, ‘What is that to you? You must follow me!‘
Jesus call on our lives is not to compare ourselves to others, nor is it to judge the importance of what we are doing by success, numbers or public acclaim. We are to stay focused and follow him, to feed the sheep he has given us and let others feed the sheep he gave to them.
How have we been distracted from following sheep? Has this distraction meant that we have hungry sheep, poorly cared for sheep? Do we need to focus once more on what Jesus has said to us, on what he has asked of us, on following Jesus – not other people or churches?
Jesus said, ‘What is that to you? Follow me!‘
Prayer Lord Jesus forgive me for those times when I have looked at the grass on the other side of the fence. Forgive me for thinking that because it is greener, or growing in a bigger field that it is better grass. Teach me to thank you for where you have placed me, to praise you for the people in my life. Remind me that my calling is simply to follow you. Amen
Other resources from Moneydig Presbyterian Church
- Church away from church sermon series
- Galatians sermon series
- Living with cancer
- Moses Sermon Series
- St Giles Kingsway Presbyterian Church (Toronto)
- The Moderators Sunday Service