Today marks the end of my reading of John in The Journey. The passage is John 21:20-25. We have been reading three small sections per week since September. We will read the entire book of Acts next before we finish the course in April.
Two important things captured my imagination in this last chapter of John:
- Peter was forgiven. Peter is the loud-mouthed disciple who boasted that he would never deny Jesus and then denied that he even knew him before dawn of the next day. Jesus forgives Peter in this chapter and commissions him to “feed my sheep.” This is a powerful picture of what Jesus’ ministry is all about: second chances (and third, and fourth, etc.)
As a side note: my traveling companion and I speculated yesterday about Judas, who also betrayed Jesus. If Judas had not taken his own life, would Jesus have also forgiven and restored him? I think yes.
- Jesus told Peter to mind his own journey. This is good advice for all of us. Too many times we base our own sense of self-worth and spirituality by comparing ourselves to others. We either look at those whom we consider super-spiritual and tell ourselves that we are scum. Or, we look at those whom we consider to be slackers and may become smug in our superiority.
Both attitudes are dangerous and unproductive. When Peter did this Jesus scolded him and said (my translation), “Peter, you mind your own journey and simply follow me.”
There it is. That is our task. Follow Jesus. He is the way. If we see him, we see the Father. The Spirit gives us eyes to see and the strength to follow. Our task is not to judge each other, but to follow Jesus side by side and help each other along the journey.
John wrote at the end of chapter 20.
these [stories of Jesus] are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
My prayer is that I can keep my eyes on Jesus and continue to grow in the abundant life that comes in his name. May you mind your journey as well as we travel together.