During my prayer time this morning, God led me to a passage in John that challenged me. It is found in John 21:18-22:
“’I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.’ Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, ‘Follow Me.’
Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved…Peter asked Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’
Jesus replied, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.’”
There were two things that really stuck out to me. First, it is amazing how clear Scripture is that the purpose of Peter’s death was to glorify God. Though it might seem unfair that someone would have to suffer so much for the cause of Christ, we must remember that to accept the call to follow Christ means that we also accept the call to the path of suffering. Jesus made no bones about this throughout His entire ministry. He said things like, “Take up your cross and follow Me” and “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” and “He who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Those are powerful phrases that we so often read and think, “That’s nice,” and move on. However, Jesus was being clear once more with Peter that he would give everything for the cause of Christ, and then followed it with the powerful call, “Follow Me.” That same calling is true for us today. When we accept the call to follow Jesus, we are accepting the call to a path of suffering, and each path is distinct.
Second, as Peter started to see the reality of his future, he also realized that in human terms, it was unfair. “What about him, Lord?” I wonder how often when we realize how much our calling will cost us, we look at those around us and become a little disillusioned. It often seems a little out of balance. However, Jesus shot Peter’s question to the ground, saying, “What is it to you what I have planned for anyone else? AS FOR YOU, follow Me.”
Anything less than completing your calling is disobedience to God. While it is true that you have no control over results, the action is still in your hands to complete. Think about this truth: anything less than all of us laid down at the foot of the cross is disobedience to God. Whatever the sacrifice would be; it doesn’t matter what others are asked to do. Jesus says clearly today, “AS FOR YOU, follow Me.”
Jesus never lies to us, promising us a life of rainbows and unicorns when in reality it won’t turn out that way. Just as He was straightforward with Peter, He will be straightforward with you. A life spent following Christ is a BLESSED life. It is a wonderful adventure. The presence of God is priceless. However, there is no such thing as a half-way follower of Christ. It is all or nothing, and there will undoubtedly be times when saying “Yes” to Jesus will cost us. There will be times when it is painful. There will be times when we look at those around us and ask, “But what about them, Lord? Why haven’t You asked them to give that too?” Then Jesus will simply respond, “What is that to you? AS FOR YOU, follow Me. AS FOR YOU, obey Me.” Are you ready? Are you willing? I don’t need to remind you that it is WORTH IT ALL. Jesus is WORTH IT ALL. He is the pearl of great price; He is the treasure worth selling all to have. Don’t shrink back. Press forward. Press on. May this always be aim of your heart and life.