When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"
Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."
When my brother and I were young my mother was very careful to see that we were given equal treatment in everything. If my brother received something from our parents, I would receive something of equal value. Christmas presents were always of equal value etc, etc. It seemed an admirable enough practice, especially when I was on the receiving end.
But my wife and I dropped the practice with child number three and pretty much forgot all about it by the time number six arrived in our family. We adopted the “according to your need” theory which is far more practical with half a dozen children.
These verses from John 21 directly follow the poignant conversation between Jesus and Peter about whether or not Peter loved Jesus. Peter had denied Jesus three times and so three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. It must have been really hard on Peter. Then Jesus told Peter about his own death. It was sobering for Peter to say the least. Immediately, Peter looked around and saw “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (we believe it was John) and uttered the words “WHAT ABOUT HIM?”
Many over the centuries have pondered Jesus’ answer. Jesus basically said, “What’s it to you if I let him live until I return?”
Jesus does not give us equal treatment. Our walk with Him is a customized “spiritual workout program” designed especially for our needs. Thus far He has not seen the need for me to sit in a prison in order to glorify Him. I emphasize, “thus far.” I cannot know what my future holds. But I do know, as the song says “who holds my future.”
I think I have spent a lot of time in my life asking the Lord the “What about him” question. It is often phrased as “what about me.” Lord You have blessed this brother or that brother with success in ways that I have always failed. What about me? Lord you have allowed that brother to live without tragedy in his life, but my path has been hard and filled with grief.
I’m sure you get it. God doesn’t deal with me just like He deals with you. As a loving Father He gives me what I need.
I suppose I am old enough now to begin to see wisdom in what God is doing. If God gave me everything He gave everyone else, I would literally be burdened with all the stuff.
Perhaps a good illustration is this: As a child of God I am on a journey from here to eternity. God provides everything I need for the trip, but He doesn’t burden me down with things I don’t need. Picture a man going on a month long trip who rents a truck and loads up all his possessions to carry them with him. How silly is that?
Today as you receive the blessings and burdens from the Lord for the journey don’t look at your brother or sister and ask the “what about him” question. As Jesus said, your job is simply to follow Him!