What is the Christians’ number one priority?
Scripture: john 21:20-21
Main Theme: The answer you receive when asking this question depends upon who you may ask the question, and where they are in their relationship with God. If they are not a child of the Living God, they have no idea as to what the answer should be. However, when asking Christians, you will get a variety of answers. The purpose of this message is not to compare answers, but this message aims to teach what Jesus told Peter to be life’s number one priority. Considering this is what Jesus says, then regardless of what others say, Jesus gives us the answer that we can build our daily life upon.
- The relationship between Peter and John
- If we look at these two men, we see that when they were both young men when Jesus called them. Later He named twelve men to be apostles, with these two being in that group. Jesus had out of these apostles an inner circle, three men who were closer to Him, that being James, Peter, and John. These three men saw things the others didn’t, such as the transfiguration of Jesus, as He talked with Moses and Elijah. These three men were in the home of the young maid who had died, as Jesus took only these three with Him, the child being brought back to life by Jesus. Peter would later, though he said he would die for Jesus, did instead exactly what Jesus had told him he would do, as he denied that he even knew Jesus. John, on the other hand, was the only one of the apostles at the foot of the cross, the others fleeing, and Peter ashamed of himself was weeping bitterly. Jesus leaving the care of His mother Mary in the hands of John, no doubt because Mary’s husband Joseph had died at some point. We know this because the first-born was to take care of their mother, and with Joseph, and now Jesus, being out of the picture, Jesus told John to take care of her. Though Jesus had other brothers, and sisters, the responsibility for His mother still fell upon Him, and even while suffering so terribly on that cross, showed His love for her and His obedience in the responsibility concerning His mother. These two men would later, after the resurrection, see the risen Lord, talk with Him, and be taught by Him. Nearing the end of the forty days Jesus ministered and taught the apostles after His resurrection, we see the question which Peter asked of Jesus, and thereafter the reply Jesus gave. Let us next look at Peter’s question.
- The Question Peter asked Jesus
- John 21:22 “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
- To understand the question, one must read what had just happened. Jesus had asked Peter three times, in different words, Peter, “lovest thou Me.” The last time Jesus asked this of Peter he was grieved. In his reply, we see Peter acknowledges that Jesus because He is God, knows all things. Thereafter, Jesus tells Peter about his death.
- Why did Peter ask this question?
- One has to keep in mind that Peter and John have been through much together in the last three and a half years. They by now have become very close friends. We could probably say that they were “best friends.” If you have ever had a best friend, then you have a true concern about them. Because Peter has just been told about his ultimate death, he is now concerned with John, about what is going to happen to him, which is exactly what Peter is saying, “Jesus, Lord, what about my best friend John, what’s going to happen to him?
- The answer Jesus gave to Peter
- Jesus says two things of note. First, Jesus says, if John lives until I come again, what difference will that make to you?
- The reason Jesus said that was not to say that Peter wasn’t to have concern for John, instead, Jesus is telling Peter, there is only one thing you need to keep your mind and heart upon.
- The second thing Jesus tells Peter is that which is to be his number one priority, “follow thou Me.”
- The priority that was to guide the life of Peter, as long as he had lived upon this earth, was to follow Jesus. The word “follow” in the Greek means “to be in the same way with, to accompany. One way to understand why Jesus uses this word follow can be found in John 5:19-20, “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.
- In saying these words, and understanding what Jesus is telling Peter, Jesus is simply saying that the work that Christians to do are not to be things which we start by ourselves, but rather we are to look and see evidence as to what God is already doing, and then join Him in His work. When “following” Jesus, we are following the Father also, and He always blesses what He is doing.
- How this applies to all Christian’s
- The number one priority to each of God’s children is the same priority that was given that day to Peter, “follow thou Me.” We too are to allow God the Holy Spirit to teach us how to see the evidence of what God is doing so that we can join Him in His work. Too many times those who are leaders in Church fail miserably in “following” Jesus, in fact, many so-called “directions from God”, have no Scriptural basis. This preacher has seen such things, as with some of the practices that Churches have to bring in money. God has already given direction in how to support His work, and that begins with “tithes and offerings” being given into the storehouse, which is the local Church. During the days of Jesus, within the temple area was the treasury, which we read about when Jesus pointed out that which the poor widow gave, being just two mites, but in doing so, she had complete trust that God would provide whatsoever she needed.
- One may say, this means this message is one on tithing, and if that is what you believe, then you aren’t correct. Tithing is simply an area of obedience. Jesus is telling us to “follow thou Me.” Jesus also said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15). To follow means that whatsoever Jesus has told us, showed us, those things especially which we can clearly with spiritual eyes see that He has commanded us to do (I almost said directed, however, God just reminded me that His words are not simply “directions”, they are commandments.) If we are to start the New Year right, or the next day right, then it must be by doing what Jesus has commanded us to do, “follow thou Me”, and if we do that, I know that you will begin to see just Whom God Is, as day after day you become amazed at not only what He does, but how He does it. Beloved, we serve an awesome God, and please allow me to encourage you to hear and listen to the words of Jesus, “follow thou Me.”