It’s weird to think of having anything in common with the people we meet in Scripture, and yet, what an encouragement, right?!
A couple weeks ago as I was preparing an Easter sermon, something struck me that I hadn’t really thought about before.
In John, the apostle, I notice something positive I aspire to, and a weakness we share. Read what John wrote…
John 20: 1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
This is both cool and comical!
I love it that John is so grounded in the unshakeable knowledge that he is the one Jesus LOVES!
We are too – each of us as if we are the ONLY one! Like a proud parent, if Jesus carried a wallet, your picture would be in it and He’d want to show it to others with delight! This is the mindset we aspire to – that we would walk into each day with the assurance that we are beloved. No matter what we do or don’t do.
But then, the part that makes me laugh. Here’s he’s writing about the resurrection, but John makes a point of telling us TWICE that he beat Peter to the tomb. He ran faster!
I might be tempted to say “What a guy thing!”, but in our family the women are just as competitive as the men. There is this temptation in each of us to compare what we DO to what others do, even though Jesus tells us it’s not about what we DO, but about what He has DONE for us.
No matter how fast John or you, or I run, we can’t outrun God’s grace.
When we compare, there are two pitfalls. We either get sucked into pride because we’re better than, or despair because we’re worse than. Jesus wants us to know that we aren’t better or worse, but unique and beloved.
John isn’t the only one. Peter compares his life to John’s too.
John 21: 20 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?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believersthat 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?”
When I’m tempted to compare myself to others, this is what I hear Jesus whispering in my ear: “What is that to you?”
Later, Paul writes, “For I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Phil.4:11 NIV
One writer notes, “The Greek word rendered ‘content‘ here denotes more than just a throwing up of arms in reluctant acceptance. At its root it literally means: ‘to be satisfied to the point where I am no longer disturbed or disquieted.'”
“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Phil. 4:13 MSG
May we live this day secure, not superior.
Confident without comparing.