None of Your Business

Trailing along behind and eavesdropping on the banter between Jesus and Peter was the author of the book we’ve been lingering over this past year. It wasn’t his business to be listening in on the conversation that involved Peter’s restoration to ministry, but John couldn’t help himself. It was how he rolled. And yet, because of his prurience, we’re blessed to have the account of that exchange.

Peter was mildly annoyed at the intrusion. Because John had written rather approvingly of himself throughout his gospel, we can assume that the other disciples were well aware of this tendency. Peter couldn’t even get a moment alone with Jesus absent this ubiquitous fawner. We can feel the tension in this next scene: 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?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” ~John 21:20,21 And there it is again – the disciple whom Jesus loved. John is true to these fetching self-portrayals right to the end. Peter was irritated for a couple of reasons. First of all, John allowed no personal space. He shadowed Jesus like a bodyguard. ALL were aware that he followed Jesus to the foot of the cross. ALL were aware that Peter had not. And second, Peter had just been told of a macabre end to his own life on this mortal coil. That put him in some bad humors. So Peter asks, “What about that guy?” Peter may have been hoping for an equally forbidding prognostication for his disciple mate!

Jesus cut Peter off: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” ~John 21:22 What Jesus had in mind for Peter wasn’t John’s business. What Jesus had in mind for John wasn’t Peter’s business. All that mattered for each of them was the singular, lonely and unique call to discipleship expressed with the words: You must follow me.” Those words still hold true for us.