Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"
Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"
So many misunderstandings are based on a misused word, a wrong quote, or just plain ‘jumping to conclusions.’
Take the text used above. Peter was concerned about what someone else was going to be doing, Jesus said, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." The disciples jumped to the conclusion “that this disciple would not die.” Jesus didn’t say that. Jesus was just pointing out ‘whatever I tell him to do, it is none of your business. You do what I ask of you.”
We can never and should never assume that we know what God wants someone else to do. Hosea is a good example. God told Hosea to marry ‘the wrong kind of woman’ as some people would call her. It became a prophet’s lesson to God’s people. We act like the wrong kind of woman but God loves us anyway and keeps bringing us back to Himself.
I started writing this the other day and yesterday (1-12-08) I had a thought (rare for me, to be having a ‘thought’ such a painful endeavor, I try not to do to much of it) and I asked myself this simple question, “Do I do good things because I’m good or because I’m good I do good things?” Religious people would have me believe that if I do good things I must be a good person. But, there are bad people that do good things. Jesus points that out when He said, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"(Matt 7:11 and Luke 11:13)
Anyone can do good things but it doesn’t mean they are good.
So maybe because I’m good, I do good things? Oh heck no. Apart from Christ, in me dwells no good thing. Paul reminds us that, “As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;” Romans 3:10.
All I can do is fall on God’s grace and mercy found at the foot of the cross and boldly rise a new creation and “Love God and love my neighbors.” Funny though, my neighbors aren’t just those that treat me well, but those that don’t too. It’s God’s kindness that leads people to repentance. Love is what we show to those who love us and those that don’t.
Am I good, because I do good things? No. Do I do good things because I am good? No. I do good things because God is good and God is alive in me and God’s spirit leads me to do good things. Apart from Jesus what I do is nothing.
Back to my original thoughts on “If I have him tarry til I come…” Do I think God would have someone just sitting around on their butts doing nothing? No. Is it my business to meddle in what God is having someone else do? No, but I can pray that they are seeking God’s guidance and their focus is on Jesus. I believe that if you are spending time doing what God has called each of us to do, “Love God and love your neighbor,” we won’t have time to meddle in other people’s affairs.
Blessings and Grace,