Monday, October 29, 2012

John 21:20-23 Part 2

Last time we saw Peter stumble again when, after hearing what future Jesus had in mind for him, he turned and pointed to John and asked, “What about him?” It’s the most natural thing in the world to want to compare ourselves to others. And either way we measure up is a problem. We either decide that we aren’t as bad off as that other guy, and assume it’s because of something inherently better in ourselves (pride), or we whine because that other person’s life looks so much better (envy).

In Psalm 73 the psalmist went though a comparison of his life to the wicked and prosperous, and at first he judged them to be better off:

They have no struggles;
 their bodies are healthy and strong. 
They are free from the burdens common to man;
   they are not plagued by human ills. . . 
This is what the wicked are like—
  always carefree, they increase in wealth. 
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; 
 in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. 
All day long I have been plagued;

   I have been punished every morning. (Psalm 73:4-5, 12-14)

When he saw that wicked men seemed to prosper, the psalmist came to the conclusion that he had wasted his life trying to do the right thing by living a godly life. What had it gotten him? Nothing but trouble! Meanwhile, the wicked were getting away with murder and had everything they could want! This thought oppressed him. As long as he was comparing his situation to others, he was in agony. But he had a revelation when he entered the sanctuary, when he looked to God:

When I tried to understand all this,
    it was oppressive to me 
till I entered the sanctuary of God;

   then I understood their final destiny. 
Surely you place them on slippery ground;
 you cast them down to ruin. 
How suddenly are they destroyed,

    completely swept away by terrors . . . 
Yet I am always with you;
 you hold me by my right hand. 
You guide me with your counsel,

    and afterward you will take me into glory. 
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 
My flesh and my heart may fail,
 but God is the strength of my heart
 and my portion forever. (vs.16-19, 23-26)

The wicked have an ending of eternal damnation. They will be suddenly destroyed! But the psalmist not only had a future in glory with God, he also had the constant presence of God in this life as well. When he looked into the face of God, instead of at men, he realized just how blessed he was. That’s why Jesus told Peter, “Follow me!”

Jesus promises to be our all in all. He is the Alpha and the Omega, everything from A-Z. He fulfills every yearning we have to overflowing when we recognize that He is all we need.

Tomorrow, before leaving this gospel, we will look at Peter and John, their personalities and their ministries, and see how God had a special plan and purpose for each of them, and for each of us.  

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