You Follow Me

Scripture: John 21:18-22 (NKJV) - Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked were you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. 19This He spoke, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” 20Then 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?”  21Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me.”

John chapter 21 is the record of an encounter that seven of the remaining eleven disciples had with Jesus after His resurrection but prior to His ascension. Our Scripture reading is toward the end of the chapter, immediately after Jesus simultaneously rebuked and restored Peter (Jn. 21:15~17). Immediately after the rebuke/restoration, Jesus revealed to Peter that he would die a martyr’s death to the glory of God. What Jesus told Peter understandably shook him to his core. However, what Peter said next revealed what had been in his heart perhaps for quite some time. Verse 21 says, “Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Peter as well as the rest of the disciples were very competitive for Jesus’ attention, so much so that James and John coaxed their mother into asking Jesus to set her sons on the left and right side of Him to reign with Him in His kingdom (Matt. 20:20~24). They also disputed about which one was the greatest (Mk. 9:33~38). Even in this chapter, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him more than the other disciples, which means that Peter thought he did (Jn. 21:15). However, what used to be competitive has now turned to something far worst. Why would Jesus tell Peter at this moment that it was His will that Peter should die a martyr’s death to the glory of God. Perhaps to expose something deep within Peter’s heart. Peter always had a competitive edge about him, but I believe what Jesus exposed was actually envy. The “man” that Peter was referring to in verse 21 was John. After hearing what he would have surely perceived to be bad news for him, given his maturity at this moment in time, he turned to inquire about the details of John’s life. In other words, Peter was asking Jesus, do you have anything “bad” in store for the disciple that you love? Jesus, in modern language told Peter, that’s none of your business. You follow me. Jesus was exposing Peter’s envy and at the same time displaying His sovereign authority. To say the least, Peter wasn’t too happy about Jesus’ plans for his life, and he was envious of what he perceived Jesus’ plans to be for John’s life.

What’s wrong with a little envy? In a word, everything. Envy is dangerous because it puts us in a false mindset to think that we’re wiser than God. It also places us in a false position of authority to attempt to instruct God on how, who, when, and what He should bless others with, including ourselves. How does this follow? James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God gives every good and perfect gift, deliberately and liberally to whom He wills. God is the reason for every good and perfect gift. To envy someone else based on the good that they received, is to question God’s authority and wisdom for blessing someone that we obviously feel superior than in some form or fashion. Be it morally, intellectually, talent, skill, education, faithfulness, our level of giving, etc. Therefore, pride always accompanies envy. Are we able to rejoice with someone who has been blessed with a new car, house, promotion etc.? If we can’t, it reveals that we’re envious. If we’re happy about someone’s loss of something good, this too reveals that we’re envious. If we’re envious, we’ve assumed ourselves to be more authoritative than God and wiser than He is, and we think we’re better and more deserving than the one who has been blessed. One thought of envy sets all of this in motion! Envy left unchecked leads to strife. The sin that we harbor within will always manifest itself outwardly (1 Cor. 3:3; James 3:13~16). One sure way to stay clear of envy is for us to do what Jesus told Peter, he said, “You follow me.” Following Jesus means looking to Him concerning His marching orders for our lives and not comparing the results with someone else’s. The Lord deals with each of us differently because we are different people. What motivates one person may destroy another and vice versa. We must learn to rest assure that our heavenly Father knows how to give good gifts to each of His children (Matt. 7:11). If we find envy in our hearts, let us quickly repent of it and ask for forgiveness, lest the Lord rebuke and deal with us for setting ourselves above Him in terms of authority and wisdom.

Prayer: Heavenly Father: If there is any trace of envy in us, please give us eyes to see it as You see it. Please give us the courage and conviction to call it what You call it, and the grace to repent of it. Please forgive us and cleanse us of this presumptuous sin. In Jesus name. Amen.

(by Casey Lingham)

6 Comments


Sentka - March 15th, 2021 at 7:33am

Amen

Brother Brockington - March 15th, 2021 at 9:17am

Amen !

Novella - March 15th, 2021 at 10:08am

Amen!

Stephanie Miller - March 15th, 2021 at 10:30am

Amen!

Wendy - March 15th, 2021 at 6:00pm

Amen Bro Casey!

Star Brewington - March 15th, 2021 at 8:26pm

Amen Bro. Casey!

Archive

 2021

Recent

Categories

Tags

no tags