Loving Lord, tame my unruly desires and help me make my thoughts holy. I know you are both powerful and empowering.
Read JOHN 21:20–25
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Reflect on life at work, church and in your relationships. Are there people, positions or gifts that you envy? How is that affecting your relationships?
Throughout the Gospels, the disciples jockeyed for position. They’ve asked for the best places in Jesus’ coming kingdom, doing so privately to steal a march on the others.1 They’ve been challenged to receive the kingdom like little children2 and reminded that Jesus’ priority is service, not status.3 Yet Peter’s reaction here, even as he’s just been restored to leadership and promised he won’t fail again, shows how envy causes disunity. Jesus essentially tells Peter to mind his own business: whatever God’s call to another disciple might be doesn’t change the need for us to rise to our own.
Thomas has also been treated differently.4 Somehow absent from their gathering on Easter evening, he hadn’t shared the journey to faith of the other disciples. I’m sure Thomas envied them their joy but, adamantly, he refused to be bounced into believing anything that denied the haunting reality of the crucifixion. Showing him that he’d heard his request even when absent, Jesus instructs Thomas to do as he’d insisted he must, touching glory and receiving the proof required. Awestruck, Thomas goes further than anyone else in the Gospel to confess not just faith in the resurrection but also in Jesus’ divinity.
The last words here (vs 24,25) recall 20:30,31. Both passages stress the dependence on eyewitness testimony, recorded to enable us to believe even as the disciples came to believe. Here John distinguishes testimony from invention (v 23). The purpose of writing was to give us a witness on which we can rely – of heard words, touched wounds and even a fingered side – as grounds for coming to say, with Thomas, ‘My Lord and my God!’
Have you ever lost your way because you desired someone else’s call, position, or gifts? Confess and make amends, if needed. Ask for the empowerment to follow Jesus afresh.
Lord, I want a Christ-possessed life so I can live effectively and powerfully for you. Clean out, search out, root out all that is not in line with your Kingdom.
1 Mark 10:35–45 2 Mark 9:33–37 3 John 13:12–17 4 John 20:24–29
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