That’s what Jesus said to Peter in John 21:22 when Peter asked him about John and what would happen to him in the course of his life. In the context of this passage it is my understanding that Jesus is mildly rebuking Peter for being concerned about John’s outcome in life and for attempting to compare himself to John. “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
It is also my understanding that there is something here that is normative for all believers in Jesus Christ, for those who become his followers. (For the record, I hold “belief” and “following” to be synonymous — not separate events or periods in life.) What is not normative is standing on a beach, face to face with Jesus and having an audible conversation with him. What is normative, I think, is that we are all expected to follow Jesus, and no other.
What seems to be often beyond my understanding is what this “following” looks like. How do we know when we’re following Jesus and when we aren’t? Is it even that simple or cut and dry? Should we be expecting a mystical experience or audible voice telling us what to do at any given point or crossroads in our lives? [I’m inclined to think not.]
Kevin DeYoung has a book coming out soon called Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc. I’m looking forward to reading that as I think it’s going to contribute to this issue.
I am at times envious of Amy, my wife, since her callings and vocations are very clear — she’s a stay-at-home mom of our four girls and an elementary teacher of the homeschool variety, teaching three different grade levels at the same time and handling it all very well.
Perhaps this is where I hear Jesus saying through his words in John 21:22, “…what is that to you? You follow me!” I’m trying, Lord, I’m trying.