Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Not Looking Around At Others

JOHN 21:15-22 – When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” 20 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?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

THEME OF THE DAY. NO LOOKING AROUND AT OTHERS. One of the strongest pieces of evidence that the Bible is God’s book, not man’s, is the brutally honest way it describes human beings. Man would never expose the many failings, sins, and bad heart attitudes within humanity. For the most part, people have a tendency to think there is some innate ability toward being good. Test this out. Try talking to people and tell them what the Bible says of them – totally depraved, enemies of God, dead in trespasses and sins with no desire, no will, and no power to seek God. We might encounter some hostility. I have. Even among Christians, but truth is truth. Here is how God describes humanity – “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Pay attention to the words God uses to describe us – “every intention, only evil continually.” That is enough to convince us of total depravity and prove the Bible really knows us well because it reveals the Creator who knows us well. And one of those areas of “knowing us well” is in today’s scripture. The lesson from Peter is powerful and worth heeding.

Here is the scene. Peter has been carrying a heavy burden of remorse and guilt. He denied the Lord. He failed His best friend and was feeling worthless, but then the grace of God in Christ appears. Jesus restores Him. Forgiveness, reconciliation, and re-commissioning into His service has occurred. I am sure Peter was jumping for joy; leaping across the beach shouting, “Hallelujah, what a Savior and Lord!”, but then again, maybe not. Notice what happens. Jesus gives Peter the soul-freeing and satisfying command, “Follow me” and Peter responds, not with “My privilege”, but with “Hey, what about this guy?” What does this restored disciple do? He gets his eyes off Jesus and immediately looks at another sheep in Jesus’ pasture.

Friends, it is so easy to see the sins of others, shortcomings of others, and what they are not doing for the Lord than to keep our eyes singularly focused on Jesus. Our Lord told us, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). So many bitter and jealous hearts exist among God’s people and in families because we are “lumberjacks” in the lives of others instead of our own. Without a doubt, the most important thing we do in life is maintain a single eye on Jesus. This is the only safe place to avoid self-deception and hypocrisy. May the Lord help us to not look around at others, but always look up into His marvelous face!

PRAYER: “Father, forgive me for too many times of looking at others instead of keeping my eyes on Your Son.”

QUOTE: “It is always easier to see the sins of others and what they are not doing than to focus on our lives in Christ.”