Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. John 21:20-25 (ESV)
The disciples, like us, were human beings subject to sin (also like us.) There had to be a moderate degree of tension between Peter and John upon Jesus’ return, especially because John had to know not just that Judas betrayed Jesus unto death, but also Peter denied Jesus three times.
Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.” Luke 22:34 (ESV)
And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” Luke 22:61 (ESV)
Peter was wondering about John’s position with Jesus. Rumor had had it that John was going to be around until the Second Coming. There had to be a small bit of jealousy going on there, otherwise Jesus probably wouldn’t have been as quick to tell Peter to mind his own business, at least as far as what happens to John.
John did outlive the other disciples, and was the only one of the Twelve to die of natural causes, at the age of 90+, but John did, in fact die.
It’s easy to look around and wonder about “What is going to happen to so-and-so?,” or “Why doesn’t God use me for _____?” or even to speculate on the worthiness or unworthiness of another person.
Jesus told Peter to MYOB when it comes to John and what John will do and where John will go.
It can be hard to mind our own business when we should be minding our own business. As the apostle Paul taught regarding the body of Christ- if everyone were an eye, where would the hearing be? God puts each of us in the places we are with different vocations. Paul talks about the diversity of the body of Christ at length in 1 Corinthians 12.
It truly isn’t our business to wonder why this person ended up in a place that seems “cushy” or “privileged” to us. We don’t know the back story. We don’t know why God chooses one person to live 100 years and another to live two. We don’t know why we fit in the tapestry of God’s kingdom in the place we are assigned.
Minding our own business is not about ignoring the needs of others, but about not being jealous of others, about not coveting others’ positions and stations in life. It is about being content with our vocation and concentrating on the mission we have right in front of us.
Most of us are not called to be missionaries or millionaires, but all of us are called to live out our daily vocations with the knowledge that serving our neighbors is really serving God.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (ESV)