Bible Ballistics: BBs #168 What’s It To You???
As I look at all that is going on around us, there is a lot of chaos, confusion and perversion of truth and the Word of God. What do we do when we encounter difficult things? We have several options, one of which is to look at the difficulties and be distressed, disturbed or depressed. Another option is to look at others who are not in the same difficulties as we are, and be consumed with jealousy, regret and even bitterness. We can also cast blame on others, make excuses or covet the ‘ease’, which we perceive that others are living in.
Jesus gives an example of this in the last chapter of John. After the resurrection Peter, John and several others decide to go fishing. After a night of fruitless effort they are told to “cast their nets” on the other side and as they obeyed they were inundated with fish. Realizing that it was Jesus on the shore they join Jesus for a breakfast, which He had prepared for them. After they had eaten, Jesus has the well-known encounter with Peter as He asks him 3 times if he (Peter) loved Him (Jesus). Of course Peter answers in the affirmative—perhaps remembering the 3 times he denied him only a few days earlier. But at the end of this exchange, Jesus prophesies to Peter his future of suffering and martyrdom for the Gospel. I am sure this must have overwhelmed Peter and like we so often do, let’s consider this interesting exchange:
“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” John 21:18-23
Whoa!!! Let’s take a look at this exchange:
Jesus tells Peter he will die a martyr.
Jesus calls Peter to “Follow me”.
Peter is given insight that few receive. I can’t help but think of Jim Elliott, especially in light of the recent death of his widow Elizabeth Gren, and the statement that Jim made before going into what would be for him, a service of martyrdom: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” This man had a grasp of the cost of discipleship. But let’s consider Peter, and what we can learn from this encounter, and apply to our life.
When told of his difficult future, the still volatile Peter looks around. He doesn’t question Jesus, he doesn’t ponder on what he’s just heard but instead he turns to see who’s looking or listening. As he turns about he sees John, and seemingly trying to take the emphasis off of his future, he asks Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man do”!!! Oh, how I relate to Peter, the one with his foot in his mouth much of the time; instead of dealing with what the Lord has told him about his own journey of faith with the Lord, Peter calls attention to John and asks “what shall this man do?”
Oh, how often we get our eyes on others instead of our own journey, our own responsibilities, and our own blessings; instead we allow Satan to distract us from “looking unto Jesus” and get our eyes on the circumstances, blessings or position of others! WRONG!!!
Jesus responds seemingly a bit sarcastically to Peter—in our vernacular—“What’s it to YOU?” Jesus tells Peter again, YOU just “follow me”! In fact Jesus gives him a rebuke that was blown as much out of proportion then as it would be today. Look at verse 23:
“Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”
Oh friends—let’s get it right. We are to follow JESUS, to keep our eyes on Him and run our own race not someone else’s, no matter how lucrative their race looks.
So??? Here’s our shot for today—keep your eyes on Jesus!!!
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” 1 Peter 2:21-23