What is that to you?
If a person is a confessed and professing Christian believer, there had better be some evidence of spiritual growth.
I was sitting at my kitchen table on Easter Sunday afternoon, viewing a YouTube video on Barry Scarbrough’s channel. In part, the video addressed an issue that, unarguably, turns off more people to Christianity than any other:
Self-righteous judgment of others.
At the same time, the topic of this post… “What is that to you?”… was given to me by the Holy Ghost.
There is a very important story at the end of John’s gospel, which bears repeating here. The scene is the shore of the Sea of Galilee, following the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Apostles had gone out to fish. From the shore, Jesus called out to them to ask if they had caught anything; they replied (not knowing that it was Jesus) that they had not. Jesus instructed them to cast their net on the right side of the boat and that they would find some when they did so. Many fish were found, and the Apostles recognized that the One who had spoken to them was Jesus. They came ashore with their fish, and had breakfast with Jesus, rejoicing and fellowshiping in their third encounter with the Risen Lord.
Things got down to brass tacks quickly…
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?“ (John 21:15-23)
Please take a moment to see where I have put italic emphases in the above passages.
Peter had been told what would happen to him. However, he was not content just to know that he had been reinstated by his Lord and Savior… he also wanted to know what would happen to John!
Here we have perhaps the prime example of man’s hubris!
Dare we presumptuously, in such a prideful fashion, demand that the KING of kings and the LORD of lords should, upon the authority of our own arrogant selfishness, tell us what He has planned for anyone else but ourselves?
Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. If He is the way… the direction… we, as those who profess to love and serve Him, should be fully content to do what He asked Peter to do: “You must follow me”.
If we truly believe that we must follow Jesus, then does that not totally eliminate useless questions like ‘What about non-Christians? What happens to them?”
Remember the words of Jesus: What is that to you? You must follow me.
Brothers and sisters, we greatly clarify things when we follow our Savior’s lead. He is not a God of confusion in His thoughts, words and actions: He makes His goal clear, which in turn makes our responsibility simple.
The salvation of humanity through His Son Jesus Christ.
To proclaim, and live, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul dismantles a Christian’s perceived right to sit in judgment on anyone (except in the narrowest of circumstances, reserved for those professing to be Christians but not living like Christians):
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
Regarding judgment across Christians and non-Christians, note what Paul says:
You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? (Romans 14:10a,b)
Good questions! Note what follows:
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. (Romans 14:10c)
Note the word “all”. God will address the issue of judgment! Except for the situations where Christians are explicitly given a limited, Biblically-based authority to judge, we are to live up to a simple responsibility: live like Christians and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.
It is pride… the sin that caused the evil one to become the evil one… that makes us sit in self-righteous judgment on others. Calling on the power of the indwelling Holy Ghost, we must put pride aside, reject the temptations of the evil one to judge, degrade, humiliate and in other ways bring down the people around us, and live victoriously as the children of the KING of kings and the LORD of lords that we are.
You might say “I don’t specifically know what I should be doing to live like a Christian and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ!”
Oh, yes… you do.
Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Pure genius, right?