Lord, What About This Man?

August 15, 2013



Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them…When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”  (John 21:20-21 ESV)

We recently concluded a sermon series on Peter.  It was fun because he was so much like we are (http://www.graceanglicankaty.com/sermons/).  Before leaving Peter (for the time being), one more look seemed fitting as we consider our journey as Christians.

Near the end of John, there is the poignant scene where Jesus forgives and reinstates Peter after he had denied knowing the Lord.  It is a familiar exchange that culminates with Jesus providing Peter with a prophetic word about the nature of Peter’s ultimate martyrdom.

Then Peter asks, “Lord, what about this man?”

How typically human.  “OK, Jesus, I will become a martyr.  But what about John?  Will he be a martyr, too?”  Peter wanted to compare.  

But it doesn’t work that way.  It is none of our business.

Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:22).

How often do we compare our Christian journey with another’s?  Or how often do we want the ministry gifts that others possess? 

Jesus’s answer to us is the same as his answer to Peter.  “Stay the course that I have set for you.  Focus on that.  I will deal with other people as I choose.”

These verses helped me make sense of my 16 year old daughter’s death.  Let me explain.

In February 2003, Hannah was diagnosed with cancer.  During the following months, nearly every waking moment was dedicated to convincing God to spare her life.  I prayed, I fasted, I wept, I screamed, I got on my face.  I did everything I could think of hoping that something I did would persuade God to intervene on Hannah’s behalf.  Many other people did the same. 

Hannah died that November. 

I had devoted my life to serving God.  Could he not do this one thing for me?  Sure he could.  He simply chose not to.  For years, I didn’t get it and I didn’t like it.

Eventually, I read these verses in John with new eyes and a bit of light began to penetrate the darkness.  God has a plan for each of us.  It was God’s plan for Hannah to suffer and die.  But through her suffering and death, God would be glorified. 

In the end, I understood that it wasn’t about me.  It never was about me.  My prayers weren’t answered because Hannah’s journey through cancer was about Hannah.  God saw something special in her and selected her to be an inspiring example of how to cope with untimely illness and death.  For more on Hannah’s journey see http://hannahgracehenson.com/ .

It is hard not to compare.  Why can’t I have what they have?  Why did God answer their prayers but not mine?  I try not to do that now.

Hannah’s journey was hers.  My journey is mine.  Your journey is yours.  And that’s OK.






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2 Comments on “Lord, What About This Man?”

  1. Marty Scarpati Says:

    Thank you Bob very powerful testimony


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