“After these things, Jesus shewed himself again to the disciple at the sea of Tiberias, and on this wise shewed he himself.” — John 21:1-23
Seven of Jesus’ disciples were clad in the garb of humble fishermen. They were poor in worldly goods, but rich in knowledge and practice in truth.
They had not been students of the school of the prophets, but for three years they were taught by the greatest educator the world has ever known.
Now, when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). Under the Lord’s teaching, they had become elevated, intelligent and refined in wisdom and knowledge of God’s word.
As Peter walked beside Jesus, he saw that John was following. A desire came over him to know John. Peter “said to Jesus, ‘Lord, and what shall this man do?’ Jesus said unto him, ‘If I will that he tarry ’till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.’” Peter should have considered that the Lord would reveal to him all that was best for him to know.
It is the duty of everyone to follow Christ, without the undue anxiety as to the work assigned to others. In saying, “If I would that he tarries until I come,” Jesus gave no assurance that John would live until the Lord’s second coming. Jesus asserted His own supreme power and that even if He should allow this to be, it would in no way affect Peter’s work. The futures of John and Peter were in the hands of Christ; obedience in following Jesus was the duty required of each.
How many of us today are like Peter? They are interested in the affairs of others and anxious to know their duty, while they are in danger of neglecting their own. It is our work to look to Christ and follow Him. Humanity is encompassed with infirmity, but in Christ we shall find perfection. Through Him, all can be transformed.
John lived to witness the destruction of Jerusalem and the ruin of the temple, a symbol of the final ruin of the world. To his latest days, John closely followed the Lord. The burden of his testimony to the churches was, “Beloved, let us love one another;” “he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:7, 16).
The question that Christ asked Peter was significant. He mentioned only one condition for discipleship and service: “Lovest thou Me?” (John 21:15-17) This is the essential qualification for discipleship and service unto the Lord. Knowledge, benevolence eloquence, gratitude and zeal are all aids in good works. But without the love, the work of a Christian minister will be a failure.
Harper is the pastor of Emmanuel New Covenant Ministry and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.