Lesson 119

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

21:20 Then Peter, turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus sincerely loved, the one who had also leaned on Jesus' breast at the supper and asked, "Lord, who is going to betray You?" 21:21 Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, "Lord, and what will this man do?"

21:22 Jesus said to him, "If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me." 21:23 This saying therefore went forth among the brothers, that that disciple wouldn't die. Yet Jesus didn't say to him that he wouldn't die, but, "If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you?" 21:24 This is the disciple who testifies about these things, and wrote these things. We know that his witness is true. 21:25 There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn't contain the books that would be written.

 Today's Lesson 

Jesus told Peter, "Follow me." Peter took this saying literally although as we saw in yesterday's lesson Jesus probably was speaking figuratively. Jesus was telling Peter to abandon fishing and return to the tasks that God had given to him. Peter was to be the primary leader and spokesman of the early church. Peter helped open the church to the Gentiles that led to the ministry of Paul and greatly expanded the church.


As Peter follows Jesus, he looks back at the other disciples. There is one that has risen and is following both Jesus and Peter. This is the unnamed disciple who was at the Last Supper and was sitting nearest Jesus. It is likely that it is also the disciple that gained access for Peter to the house of the chief priest and who ran to the tomb with Peter on the morning of the resurrection.


Peter asks Jesus, "Lord, and what will this man do?" Peter is just like all of us. When he is given a difficult task, it is sorely tempting to look at others and say why aren't they doing more? Why do I have to be the one that does all the work? Peter had just been told that he would die in a manner similar to what Jesus had experienced and now he is saying, "What will this man do?"


The answer that Jesus gave to Peter had obviously caused some difficulty in the early church. He told Peter, "If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me?" Some of the people in the early church began to believe that this meant that the other disciple would live until Jesus returned to gather up His church. But, this text tells us that this meaning was not what Jesus was trying to imply. He was simply telling Peter that it was His decision to decide how each of them were to serve. We cannot second-guess where God has given us work to accomplish. We should not covet the work of another in Christ for we are all members of one body.


This unnamed disciple was the one whose testimony this Gospel was based on. He says these things and after many years of considering their meaning, he wrote down what he had seen and heard. It is very likely that this disciple was the Apostle John who was one of the sons of Zebedee who went fishing with Peter that night.


This Gospel only purports to record a fraction of the things that Jesus said and did during His life. We are told these things so that we will have faith that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. The events of His life that are recorded here are those that this disciple believed would lead people to understand His mission and purpose. Here is an evangelist at work attempting to impart to us what God has revealed to him through Jesus Christ.


This is the ultimate purpose for all people who know Christ as Lord and Savior. We are to share with the world what Christ has accomplished in us. We are to be springs from which the living water of God overflows to a parched and dying world around us. We are to allow the light of Christ that is within us to shine into the darkened world in which we live. Just as the Father sent His Son into the world, now He sends us.


It is my prayer that the life of Christ has come into your heart. I pray that the life within you takes root and grows until all can see His life in yours, until streams of living water flow from your heart into the life of all those who meet you. I pray that Christ is in you and you are in Him so that we all might be one in Christ.



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