Earlier in this Chapter, Jesus told Peter what the future held for him. But Peter wouldn’t let well enough alone…He now wanted to know what was in store for John also. This is when Jesus firmly reminded him that it was none of his business and Peter must focus his attention his own personal walk…not meddle into other’s. Sometimes we like to “help” God, when in fact, we’re actually interfering with His plan for other people’s lives. We think we know more than Him…but that’s when we usually get into trouble! From that fateful day at the Sea of Galilee when Jesus walked up to Peter and his brother Andrew casting their fishing nets…Jesus’s directive to Peter had not changed…”Follow Me!” He said. “Keep your eyes focused on Me and not others.”
Jesus was implying that He was a sojourner here on earth. A stranger in a strange place only temporarily. That’s what it means to be in the world but not of it. (John 17:14) And as Believers, we too are sojourners in this foreign land…aliens and strangers just passing through…as we head to our heavenly home.
The Jewish leaders thought they had the upper hand…that they were in control of the situation. But little did they realize just who they were up against. And there were many times that angry crowds threatened to stone Jesus…but He slipped away from their grasp. (John 11:8, John 10:31, John 8:59) In the human mind, the Crucifixion was the Lord at His lowest point of defenselessness and helplessness…but it was quite the opposite. Jesus Christ came to earth with one mission…to atone for our sins on the Cross. And during those three years of His ministry…He was in complete control of every situation…every moment…for He was in control of time. Several times He told His disciples, “My time has not yet come.” But later, He told them, “My time has come.” Whatever you may be going through today, remember, Jesus is in complete control of the situation…including time.
Jesus saw this blind beggar as an opportunity to heal a broken human being. But His disciples only saw him as a chance to debate the beggar’s situation…totally ignoring the man…they gathered around, talking about him rather than to him. As Believers, we love to talk about ministry work, out reach into the community, and other things we should be doing for the Lord. We’ll debate, plan, and call together committees…always talking about but never actually getting around to doing. The Lord is calling all of us to personal ministry…to rolling up our sleeves and ministering to that blind beggar sitting in front of us. He wants us to stop just talking about it and start doing something.
More than a dozen times in the New Testament Chapter of John, Jesus makes the statement, “I am.” Jesus asserts He is – the light of the world, the bread of life, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life, and so forth. But also in John 8:58 He states, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” In other words, Jesus is telling us, “I’ve always been.” This timelessness of existence then shows – all these declarations Jesus made to us in John were in place long before the beginning of time…And that each assertion is as enduring as He is.
It tells us in John 1:12-13, “Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” When we are born again into the family of God we become His children. And just like little children we learn by our Heavenly Father’s example. We’ve all seen tiny toddlers attempting to mimic adult actions…it’s how children learn to do things…they model and copy their parents. We are to be imitators of God…modeling our lives after Him, and living as His beloved children.
Jesus had called Lazarus from the grave, and out he stumbled. But he was still bound by the grave-clothes wound around his body and face. Others had placed these winding cloths on him, and now it took others to free him from them. When we become a Believer we are raised from the dead unto eternal life, but for many of us, we continue to wear the trappings of the tomb. These hindrances cling to us like grave-clothes, impeding our movement forward and blinding us from the truth. And just like Lazarus, it was someone else that placed them on us, binding us up in sin, addiction, and pain. So it takes others to free us from these grave clothes…to come along side to encourage, exhort, and unloose the sins that still bind us to the past.
The disciples were being tested and challenged in their faith…Jesus was no longer at their side instructing them, and they were now being forced to depend on what they had learned . Even though Jesus had told them to,” stay in Jerusalem and wait for the gift My Father promised.” (Acts 1:4) Simon Peter reverted back to what he knew and felt confident and comfortable in…fishing. We always need to be careful when we go back to things of the past. And we need to be ever questioning our motives for it. Is it out of laziness, or insecurity, or consolation that we revert back to past things? One of my very favorite quotes from Oswald Chambers in his Devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest is, “Beware of paying attention or going back to what you once were, when God wants you to be something that you have never been.”
Why do some decisions come easier than others? And why are there times when we are so indecisive and timid we can’t pull the trigger on anything? John 14:27 tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” For it’s when we allow our emotions to rule us, we walk around, wringing our hands and crying, “Woe is me!” over the smallest decision. Couple that with fear of the unknown, and it’s amazing we make choices at all. Major life decisions will face all of us, but it’s only after seeking God’s counsel first and receiving His peace that we can confidently make the best choice.