“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 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.” Because of this, the rumour spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.”
The Chapter 21 of John is the final chapter of what was testified and written by John who was the youngest disciple – among the 12 – and it is considered one of the very close to Jesus. He was the only one who had a natural death, a natural death in a very old age!
As I read more and more the above – mentioned scriptures, it seems clearer – to me – the work we do for the Kingdom of God, the principles on which we are established and rooted.
Since we are the body of Christ – His church – we exist in two forms: as individuals and as a team. I recall a previous article entitled PRAYER (Part A & Part B) where the principles of individual prayer and the collective one (example: during a church service) were studied.
We know that we are one body – the church. We know that each one of us has gifts, a mission, a purpose, a contribution within the body. We are different and our missions or contributions are different. We read in the Bible the great symbolism with the human body and how the various members such as hands, head, and legs have separate tasks and in unison they serve the one body.
We have diverse missions that move towards one reference point: The Vision that equals the Glory of God, the salvation of multitudes and eternal life with God, the Reconciliation of Humanity with God!
As we read the Bible, we come across a number of cases that the members or disciples of the first churches tried to discipline and correct other members who were in error. Discipline and regulation are important elements of a body, in order for the harmonization and synchronization kept in balance. They are important element for the individuals, as well as, the church overall.
We read that the first church did missionary work; charity work based all in one of the two most important commandments of our Lord: loving our neighbour – in a way that includes all that love includes!
Nevertheless, as believers and members of our local churches we fall into the same flaw as Peter did: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
I love that! “What is that to you?” In few, he meant that such information added or omitted “what” in Peter’s life? In Peter’s mission? In Peter’s future?
I never met or encountered with Peter, but just reading between the lines, I assume (It is only an assumption) that his flesh wanted to know, to compare and finally to answer the common question: “why him and not I?” “What he has that I don’t?” “Where have I failed?”
Aha! Today, we still suffer from the same attitude as individuals and as a local church!
I like also what it is written further on: But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
Here are some great points:
- Believers started spreading rumours. To spread a rumour somehow equals gossiping about things not concerning them and they were not even present when the Lord said what he said;
- The rumours caused assumptions. They assumed that the Lord meant that John would not die physically;
- Yet, things were just simpler: the Lord said something specific. He used a hypothesis to just make his point. Nothing more and nothing less!
It is a fact that our life is full of concerns and tasks, anxieties, duties etc. There are concerns that we can control, where we can intervene, an area where we can bring changes and still, there are concerns which we cannot influence – at least in a direct way. There are also concerns that …they are not our concerns AT ALL!
Dealing with just the concerns of our immediate influence is consuming in time and efforts. All the more, when we spend our energy onto things that they are not our business! Not only we are consumed with no reason but we might harm others, we might harm the Body of Christ. We do not really follow a Christ like life, not to add that we lose the focus from what it is really there for us to work on and with!
Besides, our concerns are summed in one expression: “You must follow me.” Peter’s concern was not what John would do or what would happen to John. Peter concern – ours as well – was to follow Jesus…full stop!
My prayer is that day after day we spend some minutes and evaluate whether we consume our day working on what it is important and within the region of our concerns or we missed the opportunities by being consumed by pathetic actions. Amen!
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