Most everyone is familiar with a conversation between Yeshua and Peter that occurred after the Messiah’s resurrection. In John 21, the Messiah repeatedly asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” Peter responded by saying, “You know that I love You,” to which Yeshua said, “Well, feed My sheep.” This exchange took place a total of three times leaving Peter a bit frustrated and saying, “Look! You know all things. You know that I love You.” It is at this point the Bible says:
“‘Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.’ This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me.’” (John 21:18-19)
More or less, He tells Peter that “When you get older you’ll have to go somewhere (or do something) you really don’t want to. We understand from tradition that Peter was crucified as Messiah was, albeit upside down. But the point is this: Messiah told all of us through this discourse with Peter that we will have to endure some undesirable situations IF we are going to follow Him. We must all take up our cross, deny ourselves and follow Him IF we are to be regarded as His disciples.
As soon as Yeshua spoke this to him, Peter looked and saw the disciple whom Yeshua loved (presumably John) and said, “Well … what about him?” This reads as if Peter was, on one hand, resolved to the notion that he was to die a martyr’s death, but then, on the other hand, wonders aloud about God’s plan for this other guy. Peter’s question “What’s going to happen to him?” is met with the rather frank response, “It’s really none of your business what happens to him, Peter. You need to focus on following Me.”
There is an important concept we can glean from these few verses. As human beings and as followers of the Messiah, we often focus on others: what they’re doing or not doing rather than on what we are supposed to be doing. We look at our circumstances and compare it with the other guy’s circumstances and wish that we could switch places. To that mindset, Yeshua would say, “Don’t worry about them; you follow Me.”
We don’t know what the Father has in store for that other person, what they’ll have to endure at some point in the future and how their role fits into the Creator’s plan. Likewise, we don’t often appreciate what He has in store for us and how our role fits into His plan. He alone possesses the wisdom to place us where He wants us and, if need be, to grant us strength to endure trying circumstances. As Paul said, “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). He always has our best interests in mind and He knows how that factors into His purpose and plan. Our mandate is to follow Him and trust Him, regardless of what the other guy is or isn’t doing. We must keep our focus on Messiah and walk in the path He has set before us.
God gives us the light and revelation to walk the path that He has ordained for us, not necessarily to illuminate the other guy’s path. We must direct that light onto our path so that we can truly follow Him. Regardless of the path He has ordained for others, let us commit ourselves to faithfully follow Him into and through whatever life has in store for us, knowing that He is always with us.