When you were a kid, did you ever get in trouble with one of your friends? Did you ever get singled out, but felt like the other person got off easier? When that happens, what is the first thing we tend to say? “That’s not fair, what about them?” We always want to know what happened to the other person. This isn’t new, it is part of our fallen nature to desire fairness instead of righteousness. In our text today, we will see Peter fall into the same problem. The text today took place after Jesus’ resurrection. Some of the disciples had gone back to fishing. After fishing all night and not catching anything, they see someone on the shore asking if they caught anything. Finally, John recognizes the voice and the miracle performed was Jesus, and so he tells Peter who it is. Peter, in typical fashion, plunges into the sea and starts to swim ashore. After a nice breakfast, came a difficult conversation between Jesus and Peter. What was agonizing for Peter, was actually an act of mercy and grace on the part of Jesus. Jesus was restoring Peter, and in fact commissioning him to serve the church that would be birthed in just a few short weeks. After that conversation, Jesus tells Peter to follow Him. While they are walking, John decides he wants to be close to the conversation as well, so he starts following behind Jesus and Peter. Jesus then tells Peter how he will die. Peter will also be crucified, and the Bible says that is how Peter was going to glorify God in his death. Upon hearing this news, Peter turns and sees John, then turns back and asks Jesus, what about him? Jesus reply in John 21:22 is, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
Peter was more concerned about John than he was Jesus. Immediately, Jesus redirects Peter’s thoughts with the words, “you follow Me.” This is the second time in the chapter, and the third time overall that Jesus had told Peter to “Follow Me.” I have to be honest, I identify with Peter in a lot of ways. I often need to be redirected by God. My mind can try and go ten different directions, and it is easy to become distracted and drift off course. In those times, Jesus helps redirect me, just like He did Peter. It is easy to get caught up in comparisons. People do it all the time. In fact, many people choose what church to attend based on their preferences. I’m not saying that preferences don’t matter, but they should be secondary, especially when it comes to where will you worship. It is about where can I glorify God the most, and where can I serve Him the way He has gifted and called me to? Those are the questions that we should be asking. We shouldn’t be asking, which church has the best worship team, best pastor, best children’s ministry, or youth ministry. And as a pastor, I want to say to my fellow pastors, let’s drop the competition between us and our churches. We are doing more harm to the cause of Christ than we will ever help it by doing these things. People come to us because they are hurting, scared, or even sometimes angry. Let’s not try to capitalize on these emotions to gain a family that has been attending another church. Instead, let’s shepherd their hearts, and point them to Jesus so that He can heal them. This is our calling. As a shepherd, let’s remember that we are also one of Jesus’ sheep. This means as much as we are trying to lead the people, we must make sure that we are allowing Jesus to lead us. So, let us all take our eyes off of what others are doing, and fix them on Jesus, so that we may hear His voice, and follow Him in all that we do.
By His grace and for His glory,