Most of us long for miracles. And Jesus’ perfect life, death on sinners’ behalf as the fulfillment of Passover, and His physical resurrection prove that He is willing and able to meet our greatest needs: complete forgiveness and a new heart to follow Him as our living King. But even in the Bible, most of the journey with Jesus is lived in the moments between miracles. In this 50-day series, we’ll consider some of those moments leading up to the next great miracle in the New Testament: the fulfillment of Pentecost and the incredible growth of the Church.
When I read Peter asking Jesus this question in John 21:21, I’m quickly convicted of how often I compare my situation to that of other believers. The Lord had just prophesied to Peter about the type of death by he would glorify the Lord. And Jesus’ response in verse 22 seems to show that Peter had understood Him and was comparing himself to John.
Isn’t that like so many of us? We want the Lord to treat us differently that others: special. Then we want what others have or what we think they might have.
Proverbs 30:7-9 implies each of us may need different circumstances – blessings and hardships – to trust Him. And 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that He will not give us any more than we can handle. But only He knows what those things are, and He will accomplish His good will for each of His people. If you don’t remember or haven’t already looked at Jesus’ response in verse 22, listen to what He says. “If I want him (John) to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow Me.”
Think about that for a minute. As I write this, it’s been almost 2,000 years since Jesus ascended back into heaven before His disciples’ eyes. But if He had wanted John to remain alive until He returns, John would still be here among us. Wouldn’t that have been amazing and wonderful? And while we’re on the thought, wouldn’t it have been better for Peter not to have been martyred for preaching the gospel?
The Lord demonstrated and effectively secured eternal love for His followers by sacrificing Himself on the cross in their place as the punishment for all of their sins. Self-sacrifice for another’s good is the definition of love. By Peter’s martyrdom and John’s imprisonment for the gospel, all the people around them saw their proven love for Jesus. They saw that the disciples weren’t merely “fair weather friends” because of Jesus had blessed them with a life on Easy Street.
Isn’t self-sacrifice how any of us knows that someone loves us? A family member gives up their time, energy, money, and more to help us in times of need. A co-worker volunteers to take on some of our responsibilities to cover for us in a sudden emergency. A friend sacrifices their schedule just to sit with us when we’re hurting.
If the Lord has called you or me to sacrifice something, we can believe that it’s an opportunity to honor Him…and to remember His supreme sacrifice of love for us.
I hope today’s thought and others in this series will be helpful to you as you journey with Jesus in the moments between miracles.