By Elmer P. Pagunsan
Let me bring you back to the time when Jesus and some of His disciples were sitting around a bonfire at the edge of the Sea of Galilee. They were having their breakfast of fish from their early morning catch of 150. How happy they were talking and sitting with the resurrected Savior in their midst. Suddenly, the conversation stopped and the Savior turned to Simon Peter and stunned the disciple how much he loved Him. It must have been a painful question for Peter for he denied Him three times, but with sincerity and humility he answered Jesus, “Yes, Lord, I love you”. Jesus commanded Peter, “Follow Me!” (John 21:19). Jesus asked him to be fully committed.
And Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved (John)… seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” Simon’s response was classic. (John 21:20-21).
Peter is asking, “What about John, Lord? You’re asking me to follow you… Are you not going to give him the same command? He is also your disciple.” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (vs 22).
What does this statement imply to us? It simply means: Following Christ is an individual matter. He saves us individually. He commissions us individually. He speaks
to us individually. Let us not compare others to ourselves. Avoid looking around for equality. We must endure what we have been called to endure. God chooses the
roles we play. Each part is unique. God may be putting us through experiences that seem terribly demanding, even humiliating.
God allowed trials that we may endure hardships such as the loss of a child, a wife or a husband; a lingering and crippling illness; financial problems; a fire that levels everything to ashes; and any unexplainable series of tragedies, while others are hardly touched by difficulty or problems. If the Lord allowed difficult situations that will happen to us, His response is the same, “My child, just follow Me. Remember, you’re not John… you’re Peter.”
May our theme remind us to follow Christ individually by faith.
About the writer: Elmer P. Pagunsan is the ministerial secretary of Central Philippine Union
Conference in Cebu City.