There is an interesting detail in the conversation by Jesus and Peter in John 21:21ff. The context of their conversation was that Jesus was asking Peter if he truly loves Him more than everything. It was an intimate conversation between Jesus and Peter. Jesus ended it in verse 19 with the words “Follow me!” Then, all of a sudden one can feel that the conversation turned sour. Peter was reprimanded.
What can we learn from this event?
First, Jesus wants us to focus on Him.
Have you noticed that while Jesus and Peter were talking, Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them (v. 20)? This turning of Peter’s head or his body was a body gesture that Jesus did not like. It signified that Peter was not focused on what they were talking about.
Jesus most probably repeated this story to the disciples as a warning. We can say that it was repeated for the reason that John was able to write down the private conversation between Jesus and Peter. If it was not repeated, then that conversation is lost to us.
This is a warning to all of us as well. There are many things in this world that will try to get our attention. Jesus is telling us not to lose focus and only follow Him.
Second, Jesus has individual instructions for each one of us.
In this story, Jesus was giving instructions to Peter about feeding the lambs, and taking care and feeding the sheep. Jesus was distinguishing the young and the old.
Jesus wanted Peter to know His specific instructions. While Jesus was talking to Peter, he asked about John, “Lord, what about him?” (v. 21). Jesus was directly talking to Peter, and he did was to divert the conversation to John. What followed were sarcastic words from Jesus — “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (v. 22). And then Jesus once again told Peter, and probably (and this how I envisioned it) while holding Peter’s face, and turning it back to Him said, “You must follow me!”
This particular detail is a great example for us. Oftentimes, we pass the specific work that God gave us to others. We don’t want to listen to God or if while listening, we say to God — “What about this person or persons? What work are you giving them?” We like to pass not just the blame to others, but we also want to pass God’s specific instructions to others. But this should not be.
God has a special revelation for each one of us. This is why God has given us different gifts and abilities. If God is calling you to become a pastor for example (like what God did to me), then you should accept it and don’t say, “Lord, not me, choose so and so instead.” If we do that, then we are not following Jesus completely.
If God has a special revelation to you in this time of the pandemic, then pray for it and verify if it is truly from God, and then follow God’s instructions.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on