Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.” John 21:22
Peter is told how others will direct him and take him places he didn’t want to go, particularly his death. Jesus comforts Peter about this death with the thought God will get the glory. Wow! How many are comforted by the fact God is getting the glory out of our humbling circumstances? But that’s for another day.
Jesus goes back to the basics with “Follow Me.”
The first thing Peter does is turn around and point someone else out. Maybe he was wanting John to get a prophetic word too. Maybe he was just being a busy body. Good or bad intentions it doesn’t matter, Peter lost his focus. With one question Jesus gets it back.
Jesus response is classic. “What’s it to you?” There are times I need to hear this a lot. People can be frustrating to say the least and distracting. In other words I need to:
- Mind my own business. Peter wasn’t admonished to be indifferent, just focused. This is critical. Not only will it prevent us from judging others unfairly, but it will also keep us from making idols out of people. How God chooses to lead others, mature others, grace others is God’s business not ours. I can’t let myself get distracted by other people, good or bad. I can’t desire other people’s anointing or platform. I can’t get offended by their choices either, there is no mercy in that.
- “So, what” say it with me “So what!” Yep, Jesus is basically giving Peter a “So what!” Sometimes drama can be averted with a simple “So what.” We can get wrapped up in small mindness. We can’t get distracted from passionate worship because someone isn’t behaving the way we want them to. I’ve seen grown women get so distracted nit picking a person with more anointing or more favor they totally miss their own opportunites.
I have three kids and they are no way alike. Each child has their own distinct sensitivities and challenges. My extrovert daughter isn’t going to thrive behind a book like my introvert son. My easy going compassionate son isn’t going to thrive on the debate team, however get him volunteering with the needy and look out.
It’s the same with the children of God. We all are very unique and what impacts one of us might not impact the others the same way. Discipleship isn’t about making clones.
Think about this for a moment, Ezekial was so stubborn God had to lift him up by the hair of the head to move him from place to place. However, it was that very stubborn personality that made him successful with a stiff necked rebellous church. Jeremiah, so sensitive they called him the weeping prophet. He was just the kind of guy God needed to let Israel know the grief they were causing. Can you imagine the two of them as roommates?
Before we get so bent in making people the way we want them to be, we need to hear the Holy Spirit ask us “What’s it to you?” What about the way they interrupt your teaching? The very personality trait causing them to interrupt could be the very trait God uses to bring revival in your church. You see that trait in God’s hands has huge impacts. The one sister that frustrates you to no end may thrive in the very thing that destroys you.
Let’s slow down before we get distracted and ask ‘What’s it to you?” Maybe the only reason we want to say something to them is because we are offended by the very thing God is going to use for His glory. I can hear Ezekial now “Jerry! Dude! Get it together and face it like a man. They got what they deserved.”
Can you imagine Paul sitting in on some of today’s planning meetings or Bible studies? He probably wouldn’t get asked back.
Peter was sent to feed the King’s sheep. They all have different challenges and sensitivities, but one diet, the Word. That was his calling. How each person received it, how it matured them, graced them even healed them was up to God. It didn’t matter if the Word was encouraging or a rebuke, if it was going to tickle some ears or reveal their questionable motives. Bringing God glory was between Peter and Jesus and no one else. I wonder how many people told Peter to tone it down? It takes a lot of pressure off, when he let God sort people out.