Following Christ without Distraction
Today’s reading: Ezra 6-8; John 21
10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel. Ezra 7:10
21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:21-22
When God calls people to serve Him, He calls them to avoid distractions and focus on following Christ through careful study and applying of His Word.
Peter was by nature an impulsive and fickle person. This is obvious from the various stories we read about him in the gospels: his nervous response to the transfiguration of Jesus, his confession of Jesus as the Son of God followed quickly by a rebuke of the Lord for His prophecy about His death and resurrection, his promise to be loyal to Jesus to death, if necessary, followed by multiple denials that he knew Him. Now Jesus speaks to him personally giving him the opportunity to confess three times his love for Christ. Jesus charges Peter three times: “Feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep.” Jesus then makes a reference to Peter’s future martyrdom and says, “follow me.”
But Peter, true to form, notices another disciple nearby (John) and asks about his future. Jesus gently tells him it’s none of his business and repeats His earlier command, “You follow me.”
Peter needed to take a lesson from Ezra, who “set his heart” to study, do, and teach the Law of God. Ezra focused on what God had given him to do and would not be distracted from it. Peter did indeed learn this lesson as we can tell from accounts of his later life in the New Testament about his service for Christ in the gospel.
How about you? Have you set your heart to study, do, and teach God’s word? Are you single-mindedly following Christ? We can all improve in this. Pray that you will be undistracted in your devotion to the Lord and His word.