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John 21:20-25, Jesus and the Beloved Disciple

Wednesday, April 4

What about Him?

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

john follows

After Jesus' resurrection, when appearing to the disciples, he asked Peter to walk with him -- to "follow" him, probably alluding to following in the moment (for a pleasant walk) and following in Jesus' footsteps (carrying on Jesus' mission). While walking, Peter spied John also following at a distance. Earlier in the story, when Jesus shared his last meal with his disciples, Jesus commented that one of them would betray him. Peter motioned to John, who was reclining on Jesus' breast, to ask Jesus who it would be. This unspoken command suggests Peter and John were close, and that Peter recognized John's closeness to Jesus. Since this writing is John's testimony, we can see his acknowledgement of Peter's closeness to Jesus, too. Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus response was a rebuke, "What is that to you?" suggesting Peter was -- annoyed, concerned, jealous? -- at John's boldness in following. But Jesus let Peter know that John too, would be allowed, even invited to follow.

Was this a case of sibling rivalry? Clearly, Peter and John were like brothers. Likewise, Peter wanted to be Jesus' right-hand man. But Jesus made it clear that the work to be done was a community effort. Like all the teachings, miracles, and healing Jesus had done during his ministry on earth, community was of utmost importance to him. We were created to live, work, and love together. We need each other. We need to lean on each other. We need to help each other up, rather than put each other down. We need to put the other before ourselves, even when it's uncomfortable.

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 21:20-25

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” So the rumor spread in the community that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Earlier Event: April 3
John 21:15-19, Jesus and Peter
Later Event: April 5
Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira