But What About Them?
21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” 23 So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
The conversation of restoration between Jesus and Peter was drawing to a conclusion. Jesus had spoken prophetic words over Peter’s life but suddenly Peter, in stereotypic Peter fashion blurts out, “Lord, what bout him?” There are a number of interpretations of this conversation between Jesus and Peter. The reality is that John was close-by at the time of this conversation. He was the one who had been reclining at the table when Peter had so vehemently stated that he would never deny Christ. From the very beginning John, another fisherman had been part of that close inner circle of Jesus.
Lest we become too harsh with Peter, maybe he was wanting to be inclusive of his friend John. They had been a tight-knit community and maybe he was wanting John to be included in the conversation. Surely Jesus had plans for John too!
Jesus’ response, however, is deeply personal. The conversation with Peter had been personal — “Peter do you love me?” John wasn’t needing to be brought into that conversation for this was about Peter and his denial of Jesus Christ. Peter was to be restored and I’m guessing the discussion had become personal and emotional. Maybe the question about John was a way to move on from what had made Peter uncomfortable. It was the distracting question.
Jesus wouldn’t allow the question to become a distraction to the main point. He was dealing with Peter and he would finish with him. It wasn’t time to worry about John — it was time to worry about Peter. This conversation wasn’t about anyone else — it was about Peter. Jesus wasn’t asking for a communal response this time — it was about Peter alone and his willingness to be obedient.
We are often tempted to ask the Lord, “But what about them?” And usually it’s in that intimate moment when the Lord is dealing with something in our lives that we want distract him. We don’t need to be asking about anyone else. That’s not our business.
God wants to do business with us and this requires us to be obedient to what he is asking of us. It doesn’t matter what someone else may be called to do in the kingdom. We have to be personally obedient!
When God is working in our lives, give attention and allow God to continue to do this work. Don’t create distractions from God’s intended desire or we will never move on to be formed in Christ’s image.
Don’t worry about what God is doing in the lives of others. Don’t ask, “But what about them?” It’s not our business when God is in the business of working on and forming us.
Lord, please help me to keep my eyes off of others. Amen.
Thank you to Nazarene Publishing House and Keri Mitchell for helping to create and publish Reflecting the Image. This is not a devotional book, but rather a collection of thoughts and stories which lead us in the direction of reflecting Christ. Click on the image to take you to the NPH bookstore.The book is also available in Kindle format on Amazon.com.