Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them… When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’ (John 21: 20-22)
The apostles jockeyed non-stop for Jesus’ attention. It appears that they just couldn’t refrain from competing for His special blessing.
In one incident, James and John asked Jesus if He would “grant [them] to sit, one at [his] right hand and one at [his] left, in [his] glory” (Mark 10:37). When the other ten heard about their request, they got huffy and indignant. They didn’t become upset because James and John’s request was so ludicrous, but because they hadn’t made it for themselves.
What they did, we do. They wanted special favors, and so do we. Just like all their jockeying and competing was so misdirected, so is ours. Jockeying and competing for power from the one who laid down His life for us didn’t make sense then and doesn’t make sense now. When we jockey and compete for power, prestige, or positions, we’re working at cross-purposes to Jesus’ call to discipleship.
In today’s reading, when Peter perceived that Jesus might be giving John extra favor, he questions Jesus: “Lord, what about him?” We can almost hear him protest that Jesus isn’t being fair.
How does Jesus respond? He says, “If it is my will that he remains until I come, what is that to you?” In effect, Jesus is saying, “Peter, you need to mind our own business.”
If we want to get over minding anyone else’s business or status with Jesus, I encourage us to put our focus on simply following Jesus. That’s Jesus’ advice to Peter. That’s His advice to us.
If we keep our eyes on Jesus, we don’t need to worry about how we compare to anyone else. And, if we keep our hearts on Jesus, we will come to trust that He has more than enough blessings for all.
- Have you ever competed with anyone else for Jesus’ favor or blessing? If so, how come?
- What would help you to believe that Jesus has enough blessings and love and grace for all and that you don’t ever need to compete with any other child of God?
- If you’ve ever put down anyone in order to get ahead, could Jesus be calling you to make some amends? Or, if you’re still putting down others to get ahead, could Jesus be calling you to treat others differently?