“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 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 21:20-22

Peter had just heard some hard words. Jesus had shown Him “by what kind of death he was to glorify God” (John 21:19). After saying this, Jesus told him, “Follow me” (21:19). Notice the very next words: “Peter turned…” He took his eyes off Jesus and looked over to the other disciple.

In the same way, when we encounter suffering while following Jesus, we are tempted to take our eyes off of the Lord and look at another disciple and ask, “What about him?” “What about her?” We may wonder why our path seems harder. Why do others seem to get off easy? Notice how the Lord doesn’t answer Peter’s question. Instead, he asks a question in return: “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (21:22) In other words, “It’s none of your business.”

Apparently what Peter most needed in that moment was not to have his comparison indulged. Instead, he needed a tough word to snap him out of his unhealthy curiosity and set his attention back on Jesus, where it most needed to be. 

To question God’s will for others is not our business. Our business is to follow the Lord who loves us and has died for us, and trust that His will for each of us is the path of greatest glory, even if it means suffering in ways others will not. Keep your eyes on Him, and keep putting one foot in front of another as you follow His will for your life, whatever that may be.

Lord, I confess that in times of suffering, I sometimes question You as I compare the situations of others with my own. Help me to keep my eyes on You as I follow Your will for my life. Amen.

Take Action

As you see how God is blessing and leading those around you, does He seem unfair? Are you questioning His particular will for your life? Seek out a mature believer with whom you can be honest about these things. Ask him or her to pray for you.

Further reading: When Pride Comes After the Call



Tags: questions Jesus asked John 21 envy