May 10, 2011
John 21:22, Page 1698
“Jesus said to him, ‘If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!'”
The Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus
“You Follow Me”
Jesus has restored Peter to ministry with a threefold declaration of Peter’s love for Jesus. Jesus no longer vaunted himself above the other disciples, but humbly follows the Lord Jesus. Yet, impetuous Peter being the impetuous Peter, still has his own question for Jesus. Keep in mind that Jesus had just made another prophecy about Peter being led to a place he does not want to go when Peter is old. Jesus had actually prophesied about Peter’s death. Now Peter presses Jesus with a question.
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved. In John 21;20, page 1698, we read that Peter turned around and saw “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Many scholars consider John to be this disciple. He had leaned back on the bosom of Jesus and asked, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” (John 13:25, page 1683). Rather than give name to this disciple, John identifies him by his actions. Jesus now has this disciple in view.
Lord, and What about This Man? Jesus had just made a prediction about the death of Peter, and Peter had last heard Jesus say “Follow Me” (John 21 19, page 1698). So, Peter had natural curiosity about this man following them. Peter had apparently understood that Jesus had said something about Peter’s death and the return of the Lord Jesus after the death of Peter. How do I know? Consider the next verse and the words of Jesus.
If I Want Him To Remain until I Come, What Is That To You?. Jesus essentially tells Peter that Jesus does not intend to answer all of Peter’s questions about John and the timing of return of Jesus (John 21:22, page 1698). In this answer to Peter’s question about John, we should note four interesting points that Jesus makes in this verse. First, Jesus will be coming again. Just because Jesus has not yet ascended, He looks to the future for His coming. Second, Jesus has told Peter that Peter will die before Jesus comes. Third, the timing the of the coming of Jesus will remain unknown. Fourth, Jesus requires Peter to follow Him, and not get caught up in questions about the death of the disciples. Jesus did not intend to give prophecies about the death of each disciple, but rather restore Peter the Denier to fellowship with the other disciples and with Christ. All had been forgiven and Peter had a duty to the flock of Christ. He must tend and feed them. Jesus emphasizes Peter’s individual duty, no matter what plans Jesus has for anyone else: “You follow me!” Instead of having Peter continue to focus upon the other disciples, and compare himself to them, Jesus commands Peter to focus upon himself with the word “You.” Jesus reminds Peter that Peter’s duty remains unique and individual before Jesus. We all follow Jesus one at a time, no matter what plans Jesus has for other people. Each of us must listen to the voice of Jesus and hear Him say to us too: “You follow me. Stop being concerned about my plans for others, because my plan for you right now is to follow me.”
Clarifying the Record. Often I read court orders and settlement agreements that do not present clearly the events resolved between the parties. I wish they could have been clearer. In this case, John wants everyone to know that Jesus had never made a prediction about John, but rather that He had said “If I want him to remain until I come . . . ” (John 21:23, page 1698). John writes at a time after the events, but has perfect, supernatural recollection of the exact words of Jesus, even years later because of the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised the disciples that Holy Spirit would bring back to their remembrance all the words He had said to them (John 14:26, page 1685; 2 Peter 1:2021, page 1901). We also see here that John wrote with the purpose of clarifying misunderstandings about the words of Jesus.
His Testimony Is True. We also see that John wrote for the purpose of presenting the truth (John 21:24, page 1698). As we have read about the post-resurrection ministry of Jesus, we have seen John present the truth. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus speaks the truth, and claims to be the truth (John 14:6, page 1684). We can totally rely upon the entire Bible to guide in truth from God. Jesus prayed that believers would be sanctified in the truth; God’s word is the truth (John 17:17, page 1690).
Jesus Did Many Other Things. While John claimed to present the truth, and he certainly did under the inspiration of God, John did not claim to present a complete record of the many things Jesus did. Instead, we have in the Bible a complete record of all the information we need for living (2 Timothy 3:16-17, page 1864). God has given us the Scriptures, so that we will be adequate, fully equipped for every good work.
So we learn more about the Post-Resurrection Ministry of Jesus.
● Jesus did not answer every question Peter asked, but He did tell Peter again to follow Him. So often, we ask questions that Jesus does not intend to answer right now. Instead, Jesus will always draw our attention to the most important task, following Him all the time.
● Jesus did not tell Peter or anyone else when He would come again, but He did tell Peter he would die before Jesus comes. Peter still had to focus upon following Jesus, no matter when Peter of anyone else would die. Jesus has told us all we need to know to follow Him and minister for Him.
● Jesus told us the truth, and we see in post-resurrection ministry this commission of Peter to do the ministry of shepherd, feeding and tending the lambs and sheep.
Application for Today
I need to keep focused upon following Jesus. He will tell me all the truth that I need to know. In fact, He wrote down all the information that will equip me and keep me ready to follow Him. Instead of focusing upon my own curiosity, I need to focus upon following Jesus. Jesus calls all us to follow Him today, no matter what questions we have unanswered. Jesus has revealed all the truth we need to love Him and know Him. Will you follow Him today, and leave your curiosity about others squarely in His hands?