Jump Start # 3181
John 21:22 “Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”
Crucial Conversations is a powerful book about having those difficult talks. It’s a great book for getting along at work with others. It’s a great book for shepherds in God’s kingdom. Throughout our lives there are many difficult conversations that must take place. Talking to your teen about his behavior. Talking to an aging parent about driving. There are those conversations we have with those who are slipping and sliding away from the Lord.
Our verse today, is one of many tough conversations Jesus had with Peter. There was a time when the Lord questioned Peter about his faith. On another occasion, the Lord told Peter that his mind was not on God’s business but rather on man’s.
Our verse today is one of the last conversations Jesus has with Peter. The Lord has been to the cross, the tomb and has now arisen. In this exchange the Lord reveals some things that are hard to hear. Jesus tells Peter about how he would die. “When you grow old,” the Lord says, “you will stretch out your hands and someone will bring you where you do not wish to go.” The stretching of the hands easily could refer to a crucifixion. The following verse tells us, “signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.” Jesus tells Peter to follow Him.
Immediately, Peter asks about John. “What about this man?” In other words, what about John? Will he die like this? Is his fate going to be the same as mine? And, it is here where Jesus states our verse today. If John were to live until My return, what is that to you? If John dies violently, if John dies in old age, if John never dies, why are you concerned about that? You follow Me. Jesus repeats that.
What is that to you, is just another way of saying, “Mind your own business.” That’s not for you to worry about. That’s none of your business. You follow me.
And, in our times, what a needed statement that is. What is that to you? Mind your own business. We have made the business of others our business. We have signed up to police the kingdom for God and we are ready to pass judgment upon everyone but ourselves. What is that to you?
Think about that:
First, the spiritual wellbeing of others ought to be our concern. However, much of what we get worked up about is not the spiritual wellbeing. We become bothered by where people sit, what time they arrive, what they do during worship, and a million other things. I’ve known people who kept track of how often some went out to the bathrooms during a worship hour. We get bothered by what people wear. As long as it’s modest, “what is that to you? Follow Me.”
Second, like ole’ Peter, we get our focus out of focus when we concentrate upon others more than ourselves. Peter wanted to know about John. Jesus wasn’t telling. It wasn’t Peter’s business to know. Follow Me, is stated twice. Focus upon your walk, Peter. Let John do what John needs to do. Sometimes we notice who is not there more than we notice who is there. Sometimes we like to really give the other guy the third degree but pay so little attention to our own walk with the Lord. The Philippians were told to “work out your own salvation.” I may not think you’re doing enough. I may not think you are as spiritual as you ought to be. I may think you are too squirrelly with some passages. I may think that, but the words of Jesus ring loudly, “What is that to you?” Where is my faith? How is my walk? Follow Me.
Third, our faith and our walk with the Lord is a personal one. It’s not lived out through the apostleship. It’s not lived out through the church. John would deal with things as Jesus told him. Peter was to follow Jesus and not focus upon John. Am I praying like I truly trust the Lord? Am I opening the Bible like I really believe it? Am I worshipping or just sitting in a church building?
We allow others to bother us, irritate us, and get us worked up. Road rage is a fairly new expression. But long before that, we’ve had “pew rage.” Upset that someone is sitting where you’d like to sit. Upset because someone takes too long to walk in front of you. And, I expect in recent times, it’s the personality clashes that have caused more to look for another congregation than anything else. We don’t like the way some sing. We don’t like the songs certain leaders pick out. We don’t like the sound of the preacher’s voice. We don’t like the lighting in the church building. The temp isn’t set to our liking. The announcements are too long. The man who leads the prayer mumbles. Another cannot pronounce the words properly. And, just like that, without even realizing it we have become masters of fault finding. If there is a typo in the bulletin or class material, we’ll spot it right away. If the colors do not match on the PowerPoint we are the first to recognize it.
I know the world of fault finders. I think for years I have been among them. I’d visit different church buildings, and I’d see papers laying around, waste baskets that needed to be emptied, burned out light bulbs here and there—and immediately I’d get bothered. It took me a while to get what the Lord was saying to Peter, “what is that to you?” Why are you allowing the actions of others to distract and disturb you? Why is your worship subpar because of what someone else is doing?
In our vernacular today, the Lord would tell Peter to take a “chill pill” and calm down. If there is no fault to be found, fault finders don’t have much to talk about. They’d rather complain that there is nothing to complain about than be an encourager.
What is that to you? Great thing for us to try to answer.