22.05.10 PETER & JOHN

Posted under Reflections on May 21st, 2010 by

Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, "Master, who is the one who will betray you?" When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about him?" Jesus said to him, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me." So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just "What if I want him to remain until I come? (What concern is it of yours?)" It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.  (Jn 21:20-25)


Peter and John had many things to do in common and they have done so from the beginning. Even in the last chapters (chapters 13, 18, 20 and 21) they have been important and they have been on the scene many times. Now their paths are taking different turns. But they should not look over their shoulders to see what the other is doing. They should not wonder why the other is different. Vocation is personal though it is from the same Lord and though they have been together with the Lord (in their formation time)

Peter’s question about John is natural. They have done so much, side by side. Peter expected that John also would face the same end. Most important thing for Peter is to learn that God has different plan for each of them. Christian obedience is personal and the mission given to the disciples is personal. We are called to follow Jesus wherever he leads us, not wherever he leads the person next to us.

It is not Peter’s business to know about John.  Peter should follow Jesus on his own and his following should not be conditioned by the followings of the other. The words of Jesus to Peter are quite strong: “What concern is it of yours?” Peter was called to follow Jesus and only Jesus. 


Posted under Reflections on May 20th, 2010 by

 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me." (Jn 21:15-19)


This scene between Jesus and Peter is one of the most spectacular interchange in the whole Bible. By way of forgiveness, Jesus gives a job to Peter to do. The author re-creates a scene like that of the denial of Peter. There is charcoal fire here too. There at the time of denial Peter was questioned about his belonging to the disciples of Jesus. He was questioned three times and all the three times he denied.

The smell of charcoal fire is to remind Peter of the past event. Jesus questions Peter about his love for the Master. If there is true love then there is the sense of belonging. Peter, earlier, denied his belonging to Jesus. He denied him three times. He denied him completely. Jesus questioning him three times is a reminder for Peter of what he had done.

The sign of forgiveness is the mission given to him (interesting!!!). Peter is only reminded of his past and nothing is said about it. With the starting of the mission the past is forgotten (forgiven). Things we are given to do precisely as the sign that we are forgiven. It is grace from start to finish. Could this be the secret of all Christian ministry?

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