What's It to You?
John 21:20–25 (ESV) Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during 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 this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Jesus had spent three years with Peter and the other apostles, teaching them about Himself, and now Jesus had appeared to Peter and the other apostles at least three times to affirm that He indeed was alive, and that He is Lord and God. Jesus had just told Peter to go out and be a pastor, a shepherd to the Church, as Jesus gave the threefold command, “Feed My lambs. Tend My sheep. Feed My sheep.” Then Jesus told Peter that he would be persecuted for his faith and die a martyr’s death. And finally Jesus said, “Follow Me.”
But then Peter fell into one of our most common sins: he became a busybody. He forgot his calling and started sticking his nose where it didn’t belong. Peter got really curious about what would happen to St. John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, so Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Peter knew that he himself was going to face martyrdom, but he wanted to know what would happen to John. And Jesus replies very sharply: “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” Today we would say, “What’s it to you?” or “That’s none of your business.” And that’s all Jesus tells Peter concerning the fate of St. John. “What’s it to you? You—you follow Me!”
Peter was curious, like we are. He wanted to know the ins and outs of God’s work in the world. He wanted to stick his nose into other people’s affairs and compare his lot with theirs. He wanted to compare how the Lord was treating him with how the Lord was treating others. So Jesus says to us, as He said to Peter, “What’s it to you? You follow Me!”
Follow Jesus. With Jesus Christ as Lord and God, you are set free from the burden of trying to be Lord and God over the affairs of others. Everything has been taken out of your hands except one task: “Follow Me!” Follow Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, by hearing His Word, receiving His Sacraments, and then putting His teaching into practice. Jesus says, “You follow Me!” And He promises to take care of the rest. Amen.
Yea, Lord, ’twas Thy rich bounty gave
My body, soul, and all I have
In this poor life of labor.
Lord, grant that I in ev’ry place
May glorify Thy lavish grace
And help and serve my neighbor.
Let no false doctrine me beguile;
Let Satan not my soul defile.
Give strength and patience unto me
To bear my cross and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord, my God and Lord,
In death Thy comfort still afford. (LSB 708:2)