May 1st 2010

You Must Follow Me

“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 21:21-22 (NIV)

Sometimes we get distracted by what other people may or may not be doing.

On the occasion of Jesus’ third post-resurrection appearance he and the disciples had a breakfast of barbecued fish together. Following breakfast Jesus challenged Peter by asking him repeatedly, “Do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked the same question three times. Jesus then prophesied that Peter would be martyred for the faith, and said to him, “Follow me!” (21:19). Under the pressure of this intense contact with Christ, Peter switched the attention away from himself and focused on the Apostle John and asked Christ what would happen to him.

We all use diversionary tactics to take the heat away from ourselves. Often they involve pointing to someone else and speculating on what that person is doing or thinking. It is a welcome distraction. Jesus’ response to Peter was that John’s situation was none of Peter’s business. What Peter had to do was to concentrate on following Christ. “You must follow me”, Christ said to him.

It’s the same with us. Of course we may have a genuine Christian concern about others but not to the extent of being nosey or comparing ourselves among ourselves. Is your partner being the Christian that you think he or she ought to be? What is your friend doing about the sermon you heard together? Was he or she really listening? Let’s not use others as an excuse for not paying attention to the message of Christ. How Jesus is working with them is really none of our business. What we need to do is to make sure we are following the Lord.

“Listen,” says Christ, “If I want to work with your friend in a certain way, what is that to you? As for you, you must follow me.”

Prayer

Help me, Father, through your Holy Spirit to respond to the call to follow Jesus, and not to be distracted by what others are doing. Help me not to use diversionary tactics to take the focus away from following him. In Jesus’ name.

Amen

Study by James Henderson

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