Thursday, August 6, 2015

In Our Heads

Was it over? Please, please, let it be over!

Peter rubbed his face, avoiding eye contact with Jesus. He could feel Jesus' gaze on him still, despite his attempt to study the blinding sun, the brilliant water, the tan sand, or even his own dirty feet. Anything but Jesus' face.

He understood why Jesus had asked him that same, heart-wrenching question three times. He had denied him three times. But still. His horrid mistake was not something he wanted to relive ever again, let alone in front of all the disciples.

Peter shuffled a small rock in between his feet. The smell of fried fish and dead fish still hung in the air. Kicking the rock with his left foot, it flew several feet behind them only to be stopped by another foot. Peter shifted his eyes up, and saw John right there.

Emotions flooded Peter. Why was he following them? What did he hear? John and Jesus were good friends. Out of all the disciples, he was probably the one to whom Jesus was closest. He seemed so perfect. Peter wanted to pick up a boulder and throw it at him.

Words tumbled out of Peter's mouth. He desperately wanted something to take the pressure and guilt off of him. "Lord, what about this man?" He waved his hand towards the magnificent John.

Jesus didn't even glance his way. "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!"

Peter shifted his eyes towards John one more time, then brought them back to Jesus' blazing eyes before nodding slowly.

Based on John 21:20-23

"Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, 'Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?' When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, 'Lord, what about this man?' Jesus said to him, 'If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!' So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?'" John 21:20-23

I read this section, and I feel like Peter is trying to shift some of the focus off of him and his big mistake. He sees John right there, and he knows that Jesus and John are tight. Then he starts comparing. "What about him?" Translation: Doesn't he need to be told to love and serve you? Doesn't he need to be reminded? He's not perfect either. But Jesus said, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is it to you? You follow me!"

It's hard not to look at the people we feel like God is "favoring" and compare ourselves to them. It's hard not to pile all our mistakes next to someone who appears perfect. It's hard not to point fingers and say, "They're not perfect either!"

"Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding." 2 Corinthians 10:12

Those comparisons are all in our heads. Jesus doesn't compare. He's never cared if you are a man or a woman. A tax collector or a fisherman. A Samaritan, Jew, or Gentile. He cares about whether or not you follow Him. We can compare ourselves all we want, but at the end of the day the important thing is whether or not we followed God. We. You. Me. Us. We are accountable for ourselves.

"You follow me!"

V. Joy Palmer

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