When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
– John 21:21–22
Exclamation point. Get the context here. Jesus is talking with Peter right before this about what’s going to happen to him in the days ahead and specifically how he’s going to die. And then Peter sees John and says to Jesus, “Well, what about him?” And Jesus looks back at him and says, “What is that to you? Even if I keep him alive until I come, you follow me.”
John 21:21–22 Addresses the Sin of Comparison
Jesus is addressing here in Peter and in us, the tendency we have to compare ourselves with others, with other followers of Jesus, and with what God is doing in their lives.
This plays out in so many different ways in our lives when we walk through trial and we see others that are not walking through trial and we think, “Why? Why me? Why not them?” Or when we see God working in someone’s life in a beautiful, even powerful way, and we think, “Why is God not working in my life in this way?” Or vice versa, maybe God is doing something in us, through us, leading us to a mountaintop, and we look around and we can compare ourselves with others who may not be seeing or being used by God in the same way.
And Jesus in the middle of it all is saying to every single one of us, “You follow me.” God is working in so many different ways in every single one of our lives, and He is all wise. He is doing what He is doing in me and through me and in you, and through you and every other follower of His.
John 21:21–22 Encourages Us to Fix Our Eyes on Jesus
And the focus in all of our lives needs to be daily on keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, celebrating his grace in each other’s lives, praying for his mercy and grace in each other’s lives, and fixing our eyes daily, moment by moment on following him and doing what he calls each of us to do, knowing he’s working all of this together. And if we’re all abiding in him, following him, he will lead us. He will guide us. He will direct us, our paths, our steps together in ways that bring him most glory.
Oh God, we pray for this. Help us all today, every one of us, just to fix our eyes on you, Jesus, and follow you to do whatever you are calling us to do today. Not in some kind of reckless independence where we are not praying for each other and supporting each other and encouraging each other, but God, may it be so that we are praying for each other to follow you and to do all that you’re calling each of us to do, and that we’re encouraging each other toward that end to keep all of our eyes fixed on you.
God, we pray specifically that you would deliver us from unhealthy comparison with others or certainly competition with others. God, help us to rejoice in the grace you have given to each of us and to fully steward your calling in each of our lives as we encourage each other to follow you and your calling in each other’s lives. And we pray that in the process you would spin our lives however you want in your wisdom, individually and together for your glory.
God, even as we pray for the spread of the gospel, the nations, we pray that you’d help each of us to play the unique part you’re calling us to play in that.
Praying for the Jahanka People
Help us to be faithful, to follow you and make disciples of the nations today, however, wherever you lead us, whatever that means, so that all the individual nations, so that the Jahanka people of Mali, might be reached with the gospel by the person, the people you call to go to them.
God, raise up unique people to follow you to the Jahanka people of Mali and to every other people group in the world. And God, use our lives, all as links in a chain however you want. God, help us to faithfully follow you, make disciples right where we live, wherever you lead, until all the nations have the joy of following you, until disciples are made and churches planted among all the peoples of the world. God, help us to follow you individually and collectively, toward that end. Help all of us to play our parts in your great commission today and tomorrow and every day you give us here with our eyes fixed firmly on you, Jesus. In your name we pray, amen.