Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them….When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (V.21,22)
Ever heard of “Keeping up with the Joneses?” Their style, accessories, car, tech gadgets, all emanate the newest, original, and the most inventive ideas. They are ahead of the curve when it comes to what they consume. They have the power to shift the social culture so what they consume, becomes the most desirable product in the free market. The masses are curious about the Joneses and in effort to exude them, we compete with them . In the process, we drive the society to consumerism and competitiveness. Most of all, as we keep up with Joneses, we become overzealous and resentful about our neighbors achievements.
In John Chapter 21, Peter is fraught with the same dilemma that the modern century faces. After his resurrection, Jesus appears to the disciples in the open sea. Peter frantically rushes out to receive him, hauls the large net filled with fish, and later, enters into a private conversation with Jesus. He speaks to Jesus in equanimity, familiarity, and ease.
Although Peter has seen the multitudes of miracles Jesus has performed, and is walking alongside a resurrected Jesus, he is emboldened by the intimacy of the conversation. He momentarily forgets his place and asks a question beyond the bounds of propriety. Peter’s words doesn’t seem to motivated by the concern of his friend John, but it seems to stem from jealous self interest, rivalry, and envy. However, Jesus’ firmly admonishes Peter and states he shouldn’t be concerned or anxious about others. He rebukes his inquisitiveness and gives him the strictest, and the most difficult of tasks: Follow him! Instead of competing with his fellow disciple, Jesus commands that Peter fulfill the life of holiness that Jesus has commissioned for him.
Isn’t the human race all too similar to Peter? Our society will always try to “Keep up with the Jones” and thus, we become envious and competitive towards our neighbors. Each of us are too self motivated, self indulgent, and distracted by the materialistic goods in the world, that we have difficulty following Jesus as he has commanded. Even as Christians, we worry about what Christ is doing for other believers, and we do not give enough time for prayer and introspection. The only remedy to our brokenness, is to truly accept Jesus, admit our failings, and commit our lives to him through kindness, prayer and introspection.
Prayer: Lord, forgive our human nature of jealously, rivalry and competitiveness. Forgive our enjoyment in worldly pleasures. Instead of focusing on what our neighbors have, let our souls rest upon you. Let us follow you so that we may fulfill the life of holiness that you want us to have. Help us to follow you!
Thought for the day:Through the wounds of Jesus our broken relationships with one another is rectified.
Tina Suraj, Carmel MTC, Boston