Sunday, August 19

What about him?

Scripture: Jeremiah 45-47, Psalm 105, John 21

John 21:21-22 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.”  


Jesus has just told Peter by what kind of death he would glorify God.  (That’s an interesting idea: that we could glorify God in our dying as well as our living!)  After telling Peter this, Jesus told him, “Follow me.”  

Peter responds by looking at John and asking Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”  It seems Peter wanted to know how John would die, if he too would suffer martyrdom.  Jesus responds with clarity: “What is that to you?  You follow me.”  In other words, don’t worry about John (or anyone else)—you do what I asked you to do: follow me.

(John includes this story to clear up a misunderstanding that grew up around it.  A rumor spread that John wouldn’t die.  That’s not what Jesus said, and John sets the record straight here.)


Comparison distracts us from doing what Jesus asked us to do.  We worry about the other person, what they are doing or not doing, the blessing they carry or don’t.  “What about him,” we think.  Is that person getting more or less than me?  Are they doing better or worse than me?  Should I be doing what they are doing?  What about him?  All these questions distract us from our proper focus: what has Jesus asked me to do?  Focus on that.  Do that.  And don’t worry about anyone else’s assignment or calling or blessing.  “What is that to you?”  It’s nothing to me; it’s for them, just as my calling is for me.  Don’t compare; don’t worry about what others have or are doing.  Just follow Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, it’s easy to be distracted by what others are doing.  Help me to be clear about what You call me to do…and do that.