Summary: We are called the same as Peter, to follow after Jesus. In answering that call we need to deny the distraction of others, the distraction of the circumstances of life, and deny even ourselves, and let us take up our cross and follow after Him.
What Is That To You?
Text: John 21:18-22
Last Lord's day we had the second lesson in a series based on a passage in Philippians in which Paul instructed the church in how to conduct themselves in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, a series which God willing we will return to this evening. But in that lesson last Sunday we considered our need to develop the mind of Christ, that is, to follow His example in our lives. Following after Jesus is foundational if we are to live as lights in a world which so often seems to prefer darkness. We must look to pattern ourselves after His perfect example, to follow after Him. And it is that thought, following after Jesus, which lies at the heart of our text for our lesson this morning where Jesus spoke those very words, “Follow Me” to Peter.
(provide background vs 1-17) Read John 21:18-22
I. The Distraction Of Other People vs 20-21
A. Peter turned around...
1. Our Lord’s words, “Follow Me!” must have brought new joy and love to Peter’s heart. Literally, Jesus said, “Keep on following Me.” Immediately, Peter began to follow Jesus, just as he had done before his great denial.
a. However, for a moment Peter took his eyes off the Lord Jesus.
b. Why did Peter look away from his Lord and start to look back? He heard somebody walking behind him. It was the Apostle John who was also following Jesus Christ.
2. Peter did a foolish thing and asked Jesus, “What shall this man do?”
a. In other words, “Lord, you just told me what will happen to me; now, what will happen to John?”
b. The Lord rebuked Peter and reminded him that his job was to follow, not to compare his life with the life of John.
3. Beware when you get your eyes off the Lord and start to look at other peoples lives!
a. “Looking unto Jesus” should be the aim and practice of every believer
Hebrews 12:1b-2a “...and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,”
b. Paul wrote the first letter to the church in Corinth in part because they were quarreling amongst themselves over who had the premier teacher (Apollos, or Paul, or Chephas, or Christ) and who had the greatest spiritual gifts. They were comparing themselves to themselves and not focusing on following Christ.
Romans 14:12 “So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.”
4. This does not mean that we ignore others, because we do have the responsibility of caring for one another (Philippians 2:1-4) (dozens of “one another” verses).
a. Rather, it means that we must not permit our curiosity about others to distract us from following the Lord.
b. God has His plan for us; He also has plans for our Christian friends and associates. How He works in their lives is His business.
c. Our business is to follow Him as He leads us.
Romans 14:7-8 “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.”
5. We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith and remember His admonition when we would be distracted by others: What is that to you?
[Peter was distracted by John and took his eye off of Jesus, but this was not the first time...]
II. The Distraction Of Self Luke 5:1-9
A. After that first great catch of fish, Peter took his eyes off his Lord and looked at himself.
1. Read Luke 5:1-9
a. Amazed at the power Jesus demonstrated, Peter look at himself and declared himself unworthy.
b. Luke 5:8 “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
c. As if anyone is worthy of God. Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
2. Peter focused on himself and saw only limitation.
ILL: Example of Moses giving excuses to God, God had everything covered! (Exodus chapters 3, 4)
3. Paul had it right when he wrote in Philippians 3:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
We are called to follow after Jesus keeping our eyes on Him and what we can do for Him and by Him not for ourselves of by ourselves. And when we would be distracted by our own excuses let us remember the words of Jesus: What is that to you?
[There was another occasion where Peter took His eyes off of Jesus that is instructional for us...]