So Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them. That disciple was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is the one that’s going to betray You?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord — what about him?”
“If I want him to remain until I come,” Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”
So this report spread to the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not tell him that he would not die, but, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?”
This is actually very funny to me! Peter had just been told in the last section that he was going to die a martyr’s death at some point in the future. Then Jesus said “follow me.” So Peter does just that. Then he looks behind him and see’s John following as well. Peter says, “well…what about John?” In other words, “how is John going to die?” Jesus tells Peter that if he wants John to remain alive until the second coming, what is that to Peter; Peter is to worry about himself and just “follow Jesus.” At some point then Peter has the opportunity to tell his fellow disciples what Jesus had said about John. They figure that Jesus meant that John was never going to die even though Jesus never exactly said that. That’s funny!
I am reminded of Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia books. I think it was Edmond (though I am not positive now) who was told numerous times by Aslan that his story was his own and he was not to worry about Lucy or Peter’s or anyone else’s story. Edmond was to follow Aslan. I am sure that C.S. Lewis build that into his story because of John 21:20-23.
We learn something very important here in these verses. We as Parents are called to shepherd our families. We are called to wash our wives with the Word of God. We are called to speak of the things of the Lord when we are laying down and when we are raised up. We are to pray for our children and to teach them to fear the Lord. We will give an account before Jesus how faithful we were to these tasks. But we will not have to give an account for how successful we were at attaining our children’s salvation. Salvation belongs to the Lord. It is he alone who quickens the heart to believe upon Christ. It is he who grows fruit on the vine. It is he who raises the dead. I am to sow the seed, God gives the increase on his time table and his decision.
When each of us stands before the Lord, there will not be anyone else around. We will not give an account for any other human being in the world; only ourselves, that’s it. In one sense, this is freeing. I am not responsible to ensure that you my children will choose to follow Jesus. I am responsible to tell you how to do that. I am responsible to show you how to do that. And I am responsible to tell you that Jesus’ command to Peter is the same command he says to you; “as for you, follow me.”
- How does that make you feel to think that you will one day stand before Jesus absolutely alone to give an account for your life?
- Many people think that on this day there will be a scale to weight our deeds. On one side will be the good and on the other side the bad. Tell me what is wrong with this thinking?