Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, ‘But Lord, what about this man?”  John 21:21

“Jesus said to him,’If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me.”  John 21:22

Equal treatment; we hear a lot spoken of today concerning equal treatment; what it is, what it should be, how it is not happening.  Yet we also celebrate diversity; the condition of being different.  So can those two concepts interrelate and if so; how?

Jesus Christ had a plan.  A part of that plan included actions by the one He had called the “Rock”:  Peter.  He needed to communicate that plan to Peter.  However, first Jesus needed to restore Peter, both in his own mind as well as within the group of disciples.  For while all the disciples deserted Jesus when He was arrested in the garden; Peter did the additionally unthinkable thing of denying that he even knew Jesus; not once, but three times.  The other disciples knew this because Jesus predicted it would happen during the last supper.

Jesus Christ had a plan, for Peter.  Jesus came to where Peter was.  Peter (and seven others) had gone fishing; for fish.  Jesus Christ wanted them to be fishers of men.  So Jesus met them after fishing.  Jesus performed one of His last miracles of His life on this earth.  He fills there empty nets, overflowing with fish.  They eat together.  Then Jesus restores Peter; by first having Peter testify, for all to hear, of the total love that he has for Jesus.  Then Jesus provides him with an example of how Peter will no longer just do what he wants to do but, in doing the Father’s Will, will be lead to places he didn’t plan on going.

Jesus Christ had a plan, specifically for Peter.  I love Peter’s response.  For in this case, like so many times throughout Jesus time on earth; Peter shows us the very worldly, human reaction to Jesus’ teachings.  And we are very blessed for it.  Peter wants to know why it seems he is being singled out.  If Peter is going to be dragged where he doesn’t want to go; Peter wonders, then what about John?  Why isn’t he being treated equally and being dragged along at the same time?  God bless you Peter and your question.

Jesus Christ had a plan for Peter, different than the plan for John.  Jesus Christ explains to Peter that the plan that He has for John does not concern Peter.  Peter has a plan specifically for him and John has a plan specifically for John.  However, both plans are from Jesus Christ, which means both plans are from God.  As a side note, should the reader at this point feel that Peter either felt or was actually being ill used or treated; Peter later writes in 1 Peter that rejoicing is the proper response to sufferings in Christ.  After receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s life shows that he is “all in”, totally engaged, blessed and in agreement with the plan of His Heavenly Father.

So brothers and sisters we come to today.  Yes there are times when the judgement is worthy that equal means the same.  It seems right that a person with the same qualifications, same education doing the same task with equal quality should get the same pay regardless of gender.  It seems right that the children living in the same neighborhood should go to the same school regardless of their race.  There are many more examples to site where equal is same.  However, equal is not always same and would not make sense to be so.  I have two children, one is a girl and the other a boy.  To treat them equally would I force the boy to wear a dress or never purchase one for my daughter because I need to treat them the exact same?  My daughter could not wear earrings or my son would be forced to so that they are the same?  Doesn’t make much sense in that context does it?

Yet as we look around, compare and judge the correctness of things; both in the world and in our faith communities, do we not sometimes do the same?  Why do I serve on so many committees when this other person doesn’t but if they do something they get praised and I don’t?  Why do I seemed to be burdened with this trial while these other people get to breeze through life so easily?  If God loved me as much as they; I’d have their, wealth, wife/husband, job, fame and on and on and on.  World speak.

Let us take comfort in God speak from the Lips of God on earth Himself, Jesus Christ: “but the very hairs on your head are numbered… (Matthew 10:30).  I don’t know about you but as I look around I see folks, some with a lot more hair, a few with less hair than I do.  We are all different and differently created.  The only one, the Only One, who truly, perfectly knows, why we were created, what our path is and what we need to navigate that path is Our Heavenly Father.  The miraculous thing is He has made a plan specifically for you and a different one specifically for me.  In that way I don’t have to conform to you, I don’t have to try to fit into your size.  Our Loving Father has not done that to us.

We are all equal, that is the same in one respect; we are all sinners.  We have all fallen short of living each day in the way that Our Heavenly Father has planned.  We all deserve the same fate, the same judgement.  Our Heavenly Father could not bear for that to be the plan.  So He sent His Only Son, Jesus Christ, Our Savior, the Great Equalizer.  That for those who believe we are all equally forgiven in Our Heavenly Father’s eyes.  Let us truly rejoice in the Love of our Father, the Salvation for us through Jesus Christ, and strive to live out the individual plan, with its individual blessings that Our Heavenly Father has intended.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we proclaim that You Are Our Father, Our Creator and that You have an individual plan for each of us.  Forgive us, Merciful Father, when we want to compare Your Plan for others with the Plan You have implemented for us and we judge it unfair.  May it be that The Holy Spirit will come and indwell with us, testifying to us the perfection of Your Plan for me and lead me away from comparing.  That in living out the plan You have made for me, I would live a life worthy of praise to Your Most Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

 

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