What really matters to us

Peter and John. The one learns that he is going to be killed and wants to know what will happen to the other. The answer he gets is: What is it that to you? – Why should it matter to us? The Chief Apostle explained this during a recent surprise visit.

Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider showed up in the congregation of Illkirch-Graffenstaden in France unannounced on 11 April 2021. He based his sermon on John 21: 21–22: “Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?’ Jesus said to him, ‘If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.’”

Peter and John

Peter and John had a lot in common, the Chief Apostle said. Both had decided without a moment’s hesitation to follow Jesus, although neither of them always understood Him. Both were very impulsive. John wanted to destroy the Samaritans in the village who refused to welcome Jesus (Luke 9: 51–56). Peter cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant who came to arrest Jesus (John 18:10).

What’s more, both disciples thought rather highly of themselves. John believed that he deserved a place right next to his Master in the kingdom of God (Mark 10: 35–37). Peter was convinced that he would be the only one who would never be offended and stumble because of Jesus (cf. Matthew 26: 33).

“It is understandable that Peter, who knew of the special bond between John and Jesus, would have liked to know whether his fellow brother would have to suffer like he did,” the Chief Apostle said.

Peter and John continued to work together as Apostles even after Pentecost. They were arrested together and beaten (Acts 4: 1–3; 5: 40). They travelled together and sealed the Samaritans who had been baptised by Philip (Acts 8: 17). “Then they parted ways,” the Chief Apostle said. “According to historians, Peter was executed around the year fifty, while John lived much longer.”

What will become of them?

That is the question we sometimes ask ourselves when we see brothers and sisters for whom things are not going as well as they should, while we ourselves are doing fine. Their faith is severely tested and some lose interest in the Church and the divine services. What will become of them?

When things are going badly for us and we see how good everything is going for our neighbour, we ask God: “Why is everything going good for him or her, but not for me? We have been on a similar path so far?” But God rarely gives an answer.

The Chief Apostle went on to explain what the brothers and sisters can learn from this Bible text.

  • Misfortune is not a punishment for our faults, and the happiness we experience is not a reward for our merits.
  • The fact that God loves us does not mean that we will be spared suffering. Even Jesus had to suffer.
  • The fact that God entrusts a believer with a particular mission does not mean that God loves this believer more or that he or she is better.
  • The fact that we faithfully serve the Lord does not spare us from afflictions.
  • Human understanding cannot explain why the course of people’s lives is so different sometimes. God alone knows why.

You follow Me!

This is how Jesus exhorted His disciples, and it also applies to Christians today. It means, among other things, that we need to remain focused on the future, as Jesus was. “The happiness and sadness we experience here on earth is nothing compared to the glory to come,” Chief Apostle Schneider said. “Christ is our future!”

Photo: NAK France

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