December 19, 2021
Tennessee Valley District
19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
John 21: 19b-24 (NLT)
20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers[a] that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
24 This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate.
DevotionBy the time you read this, you may have entered the doldrums after Christmas. Christmas is such a gift! We are reminded of the love, peace, hope and joy that the Lord offers us. It can be elating, to rejoice and sing the carols, view the sights and hear sounds that uplift our spirits.
If we are not paying attention, however, we can sink into a low state when it is all over.
We scan our horizon and only see crumpled paper and dirty dishes. There doesn’t seem to be any songs to be sung for clean-up time! Family members may have returned home, and we aren’t quite ready to return to our normal schedules yet.
One way to put this off is to look into celebrating Christmas for 12 days. There are practices we can observe to keep the celebration of the Christ child going on.
How does all this relate to the scripture passage for today?
I believe the answer lies in forming a response to the gift of Jesus, Messiah and Savior of the world.
In the passage today, Jesus is asking Peter to respond. He has now risen from the dead as He had promised. I would imagine all of the disciples are probably wondering “now what?” After a walk on the sea shore, and deflecting some thoughts toward John who is trailing behind them, the call to respond is given. Jesus calls to Peter: “Follow me!”
For us as well, it is response time! But, how can we form a response to such a huge gift from God Himself? We have been given salvation and eternal life through this child; born in the manger. Not many of us receive gifts from others and fail to say thank you. We write thank you notes, and we often recall a person’s kindness.
Somehow, I don’t think a “Thank you” note is going to be enough in this case!
Here are a couple ideas: We can spend some time in quiet pondering of this wonderful gift. Doing this as often as we can will give it continuance in our lives. It will prevent our sinking into resuming life as though Christmas never happened. For some of us, writing down our thoughts of praise and thanks in a note to God might help us continue the celebration. Perhaps the best way to continue the celebration is to respond as Jesus called Peter to respond; and follow Him.