Friday, October 26, 2012

John 21:20-23

Yesterday we looked at what Jesus told Peter about how the end of his life would be. And before moving on, I just wanted to say how this passage hit me personally. Jesus told Peter, “…when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” While this was a reference to his death on the cross (the stretched out hands), what really jumped out at me was the image of an old man being dressed by someone and being lead (or pushed in a wheelchair) to a place in life that no one wants to go.

Don and I have been caring for his father, Frank, who is currently in an assisted living center near us, since 2009. It is really difficult to watch the deterioration of aging parents who used to be the ones who cared for you. That role reversal is scary and often frustrating. One thing that has amazed me from the beginning of this process has been the way Frank has accepted the help (bathing, dressing, etc) with humility and grace. He is definitely in a time of life where none of us wants to go, yet he is grateful for the care he is receiving.

Dad has been a good role model for Don and me, and we are so thankful that we have been able to be involved in this process – even though it is stressful and difficult. One day, soon, it will be our turn, God willing. And like, Peter – and Dad - we will need to completely trust God as we follow Him to that place! May we, too, show humility and grace!

Now, back to our scripture for today. After hearing about his own future, Peter began to look around at his fellow disciples. His eyes landed on John, who was following behind.

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 rumor 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?” (John 21:20-23)

“Hey! What about HIM???” “What’s going to happen to him??” Oh, Peter, Peter, Peter… I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for Peter! He said what everyone else would be thinking! So he got the rebuke. Now this is the final rebuke of this gospel, but he received further correction later, in Acts 9, for his disdain for the Gentiles. Just like the rest of us, he was so flawed!!! And Jesus basically tells him, “MYOB!! Whatever I have planned for John has nothing to do with you. You just follow me!” OUCH!

How much trouble do we get into when we begin the comparing? “Why does she seem to have such a blissful life when I’m sinking here?” “Why has my life been full of trials, while everyone else is doing just fine?” Goodness! We have NO idea what things God has planned for anyone else or why. We only know that He is completely loving, fair, merciful, good, and sovereign. We need to get our eyes off of others, and let God be God.

This is such an important concept, and there are so many wonderful promises related to it, that I’m saving it all for next time! In the meantime, today would be a great day for realigning our focus. Keep those eyes straight ahead – don’t look to the left or to the right, but straight into the eyes of Jesus. And follow Him! And pray for every older person you see today!!!  

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