Tuesday 27 December 2016

Bible Book:

"This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true." (v. 24)

John 21:19-25 Tuesday 27 December 2016

Psalm: Psalm 117


In what has been coined a 'post-truth society' it is apt that onthis feast day of St John we are faced with the question of how weidentify truth in amongst all other forms of information. This is apassage about credibility and authority. It is also about therelationship between Jesus and the people who follow him.

Prior to this passage, Peter has been faced with his final testof character as he has to declare his love for Jesus (John21:15-18); in a conversation which mirrors Peter's denial ofJesus only a few days previously (John18:15-27). In the context of Peter's need to rebuild hisrelationship with Jesus and to restore his apostolic position, itis significant that the discussion about the 'Beloved Disciple'("the disciple whom Jesus loved" (v. 20)) ensues.

The Beloved Disciple is revealed here to be the discipleJohn.

There is a hint of a family feud between the trinity ofprotagonists. Peter having been given the opportunity to redeemhimself, then focuses his attention on John and Jesus. There is asense of competition between the two Apostles, each one vying forJesus' ultimate blessing and attention. It is Peter who is worseoff from this exchange.

Having received Jesus' blessing and a command to follow him,Peter wants to know what will happen to John. In reply, Jesusintimates that Peter should focus on his own discipleship ratherthan worry about other people or comparing himself to other people(verse 21).

Jesus' reply is characteristically ambiguous, at once suggestingthat John might see Jesus' earthly return before his death, whilstat the same time exposing Peter to the challenge of not competingwith others.

John is one to be trusted. John is the beloved follower. Hiswitness is both first hand and true. In a Gospel whose themes wereunusual: a radical vision of Jesus; the involvement of women asfollowers of Jesus; a lack of traditional sacramental motifs andmodels; and an unusual rhetoric surrounding the kingdom of God - itis unsurprising that John requires a reference to attest to hiscredibility.

To Ponder

  • How do you interpret the relationship between Peter and John?Why might it matter?
  • In your own discipleship, where do you find yourself competingfor attention and credibility? How might this passage encourageyou?
  • In a post-truth society, how do you check truth claims andtestimony?
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