Summary: There are areas in each of our lives which remain private, between us and God.

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John 21:20-22

1. Peter had once boasted that even if all men were to forsake Jesus, yet he would not be amongst them (Matthew 26:33). However, of those disciples still living after the betrayal of Jesus (when most of His disciples fled at the first sign of trouble), Peter had taken the greatest fall. It is a mark of the grace of the Lord towards His erring children that, after such a public disgrace, Jesus singled out Peter for public restoration.

Even after all that had happened, Jesus still loved His own to the uttermost (John 13:1). Just like when Jesus had first called some of those same disciples, He provided a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:5-7). He also furnished their table with an equally miraculous fish meal (John 21:12-13).

Jesus restored Peter before six witnesses (John 21:15-17). He also signified by what means Peter would die, and glorify God (John 21:18-19). Then, just as He had called the fishermen on that previous occasion when they first forsook all their things and followed Him (Luke 5:11), He said, “Follow me” (John 21:19).

Evidently at this point they arose from the meal, and Peter looked round and saw John following. [Along with his brother James, John had once desired to sit beside Jesus in His kingdom “one on the right and one on the left” (Mark 10:37).] It seems that Peter was already distracted, even so soon after his wonderful restoration, and looking back he asked, “What about him?” (John 21:20-21).

Jesus’ imperative “you follow me” (John 21:22) was, in effect, “Mind your own business.”

2. In Luke 13:23-24, a man asked Jesus if there would be very many that would be saved. Jesus did not answer him individually, but instructed the crowd to strive with all earnestness to enter the narrow gate. Matthew 7:13-14 tells us that few will find it!

Strive, like the woman of Canaan who turned her discouragements into arguments (Matthew 15:22-28). Strive, like Jacob wrestling with the Angel, who would not let Him go until He blessed him. The Lord rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus’ answer (or lack of an answer) was in effect, “Mind your own business: you make sure that you find the way of life, rather than concerning yourself about others.”

3. This is not to suggest that we obstinately refuse to help others who are struggling in their walk with Jesus. In Galatians 5:22-6:5 we discover that the truly spiritual are to bear one another’s burdens, thus fulfilling Christ’s law of love (Galatians 6:2). This is part of our “walking in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), as illustrated in our “meekness” (Galatians 5:23) towards a fellow believer caught out in a fault (Galatians 6:1).

The “burdens” spoken of in Galatians 6:2 are weights too heavy for a man to bear alone. This, in the Spirit realm, corresponds to the earthly chivalry that might offer help to someone carrying an item which they are evidently struggling to bear alone. It is illustrated in the restoration of the erring brother in Galatians 6:1.

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