Summary: Our Lord appoints each of His followers to a particular task. Though the task may appear difficult, it is common that we Christians attempt to turn His command by asking what He is doing in the life of another. We need to learn to focus on His work in our own life.

“[Jesus said] ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.’ (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

“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!’ So, the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?’

“This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.” [1]

“What About Bob?” is a comedic movie produced in the early 90s. Starring Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray, the film follows the antics of a psychiatric patient named Bob (Murray) and his therapist (Dreyfuss) as Bob unwittingly intrudes into the life of his psychiatrist while the psychiatrist seeks respite with his family while on holiday. Bob ingratiates himself to the family of the psychiatrist, and the family continually asks before every venture, “What about Bob?” Ultimately, Bob pushes the psychiatrist beyond his limits, precipitating a complete breakdown of the once noted therapist.

What is described in the text before us is not comedy—it is life. Peter, acting like Peter, reveals far more about us than we may care to see revealed. Through the Kingdom of our Lord, Christians are appointed to service in varied places and to differing positions of service. The great tragedy is that, like Peter, many saints look about them and ask the Master who appointed them, “What about John?”

APPOINTED TO SERVE — “When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ He said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ and he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’” [JOHN 21:15-17].

Peter, impetuous man that he was, boasted of his courage and his allegiance even as the Master spoke of His pending crucifixion. You do recall the incident? It was immediately after the last Pascal Meal. “Jesus said to [the disciples], ‘You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.’” Note Peter’s response. “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” [MATTHEW 26:31-33].

“Well, these other guys may all run away, but I never will!” Peter was bragging of his ability to stand tall against the winds of adversity. He sounded like many saints I have known. However, don’t be too harsh on Peter, and don’t imagine that you might have reacted differently. Until you have been tested, you don’t know how you will respond. You can’t say at what point your resolve will give way to fear. Every individual has a breaking point when they have no more courage. Maybe you’ve reached that point at one time; perhaps you’re at that point today. Here is the good news—though our courage may fail, the Lord’s love for us will never fail.

Our Lord has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” [HEBREWS 13:5b]. Paul reminds those who follow the Lord, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful” [2 TIMOTHY 2:13a]. We need to remember the reality of our situation. As the Apostle has written, “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” [2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-11].

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