Often we use the phrase – ‘a personal relationship’ to describe the way we know the Lord. We must each come to God personally in order to be saved. After we are saved, the Holy Spirit dwells within each of us personally. And from that point on, God deals with each of us on a personal basis. This can be seen in a conversation Jesus had with Simon Peter.
John 21:18 The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them — the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who among us will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” 22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.”
In so many words, Jesus said to Simon – “How I deal with John is none of your business. I’m calling you to follow Me.”
God did deal with John and Peter in two different ways. Church tradition says that Simon Peter died after being crucified upside down. John however, died at an old age after having been exiled on an island called Patmos. Peter was used to preach on the Day of Pentecost while John received the Book of Revelation.
I’ll never forget a conversation I once witnessed between a young Christian and a veteran missionary. The young man was voicing his complaints concerning some of the ways the Mission Agency was operating. After listening to the young man for several minutes, the older man took his finger and pointed straight in the middle of the young man’s chest. “Young man”, he said, “When you learn how to control this, maybe you’ll know how to control that.”
How true that is. Jesus said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.” In other words, ‘We’re not talking about John; we’re talking about you. You follow Me and let Me take care of everything else.’