Jentezen Franklin - What's it to You?
I wanna go today for just a few minutes to the book of John 21. "Most assuredly," verse 18, "I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself up and walked where you wished; but when you are old," this is Jesus speaking to Simon Peter, "they will stretch you out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you here you do not wish. Carry you where you do not wish. This He spoke, signifying by the way or the kind of death through which he would glorify God". He was prophesying his death, as you know, Peter was crucified upside down. "And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me.'" And I'm gonna skip down to verse 21. "Peter, seeing John," I'm summing it up, "But Lord, what about this man? I heard what's gonna happen to me, but what about this guy"?
He was talking about John. And He said back, "Jesus said to him, 'If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you"? "What is that to you? You mind your own business". "What is that to you. You follow me". Everybody say those last words, "You follow me". So, I wanna speak for just a few moments on this, 'cause this was an amazing moment. Jesus had risen from the dead, and had prepared a restoration meal for Simon Peter, and He asked him three times in the previous verses leading up to where we just read, "Do you love me, do you love me, do you love me"? And in response, Jesus said, "Lord, you know I love you". Then He kept saying, "Feed my sheep, feed my sheep, feed my sheep".
And then comes this prophecy of Christ to Simon Peter that said there's coming a day that will be different from how you are now. Now you're young, and you're strong, and you're free to go and do whatever you wanna do. But there's coming a day when men will come and bind you, and you're gonna die a death that you're gonna walk a path and die a death that you would never choose. And this is what's going to happen, you would never choose this. "And this spoke He of the way that He would die," the next verse says. And the first thing that Simon Peter does, is when Jesus tells him what His will is for his life, is he shifts, and he sees John, Jesus' favorite, John who leaned on his breast at the Last Supper, John who was always there was, even John, the book of John says that he was His favorite.
And so, he looks over, and he thinks that he's just been given a death sentence by Jesus, and yet he looks over and he sees John, and he asks this question. He said, "Well, you just told me what is gonna happen to me and it's not a blessing. It's not something I'mma put on my refrigerator and look forward to, that fulfilment of that promise". But he said, "What about him"? Jesus gives him a stern rebuke He says, "What is it to you how I deal with him? What is it to you that your life is going one way, and his life is going another way? I thought you said I was Lord? I thought you said that my will could be done in your life? I thought you said you would follow me"? But instead, he begins to look, Simon Peter does, and he says, "Why is all this bad gonna happen to me? Why my family? Why my life? Why my doctor report? Why my business? And look at them, look at their life, look at his life".
He's never gonna die, he's the only one, as a matter of fact, as history would finally play out; all the other disciples were crucified or died some terrible death, some of them, you should read Foxe's Martyr book, it's just, I preached on it for... I don't have time to go there. But beheaded, and all kinds of deaths. The only one who died of natural causes was John. So, Simon Peter is saying, "Lord, it's not fair". We make a mistake, instead of accepting what Jesus allows in our life, He doesn't do it, He doesn't... we live in a natural world, we live in a crazy world, and we live in a world where even other people's choices can affect you, and you can be innocent. That's the kinda world we live in. We have free human will.
And people say, "Well, why didn't God step in? Why didn't God stop the car wreck? Why didn't God..." Because number one, God does intervene, supernaturally, and miraculously. But sometimes, there's the non-interventions of God, and you're gonna get both of them in situations in your life. You're gonna get those times where God does step in, that's beautiful, that's wonderful, that's the kinda God we serve. But there's others, there's other situations, there's other times, like my brother who was 54 years old, and died of cancer. Like my father who was 56 years of age and died. I've seen good men and women in their prime, taken without an explanation. All Jesus offered was a "Follow me". An invitation. "I don't have to explain anything to you. I may never explain this to you. You may never understand this".
And Simon Peter standing there with a question mark for a brain, he's looking and he's saying, "This is it? What about him? Why didn't that disciple get the same direction that I got? Do you have favorites? Do you not love me? Do you not favor me"? Anytime you get your eyes off of Jesus and get them on someone else, it hinders what God wants to do in your life. Equality cannot be transferred in the kingdom of God. He has a plan for you, and He has a plan for me. His plan for me may not be as glorious as His plan for you, but I'll still follow Him. His plan for you may be more public and greater than anything I'll ever experience, and my job is to not get my eyes on them, but to keep my eyes on Him, and wherever He leads me, I'll trust Him, I'll hold His hand, through sorrow, through brokenness.
If I lose everything, wherever I go, I have this firm confidence that He is in complete control of my life, not just when good things are happening, not just when I'm getting those good prophecies. You know, Jesus gave Him a bad prophecy. See, all we think, we think prophecies are like fortune cookies. "I want a word for the Lord". Here comes the word from the Lord. There it goes. Here, here, let, there you go, you ain't looking like you hungry anyhow. Go ahead. I just feel like throwing 'em out today. Yeah, I just feel like saying, there it is, it probably says, "You shall be rich. You shall, a good thing is coming. A boyfriend is coming. A wife is coming".
And there's no, it never says things like this, "Thus sayeth the Lord, you're about to cry all night. You're about to go through a trial. You're about to have a backset like you've never had before. But if you'll follow me and trust me, I'm gonna let you mature, I'm gonna let you grow, I'mma let other people see you struggling, and in your struggle, they're gonna get hope because if they see you haven't given up, they won't give up". "Why won't He heal me"? I don't want these dumb things. Somebody take. "Why does He heal one and doesn't heal the other"? Why does He deliver some and why does He save somebody else's family but I've been praying... You know, and we almost get an attitude like that when we go through trials and tribulations. It's kinda like, "I've been fasting and praying. I paid my tithes. And that thing comes rolling up, perfect little Leave it to Beaver family. All of 'em walk in, all blessed and highly favored of God".
You look at your family and they look like Ozzy Osbourne's family, sitting right there all jacked up, all crazy, all kinds of fussing and fighting out in the parking lot, and cussing each other out, and coming into church. It's alright, He's still Lord. I tell you, we serve a savior who says, "I'mma take everything the enemy wants to use against you, I'm gonna mess his plans and plots up". God has called us to certain things, and His plan for you is different from His plan for me. The Apostle Paul said, In 2 Corinthians 10, "When you compare yourselves among yourselves, you do not good". When you start saying, "If God loves me, He'll bless me like this, and He'll do this, and look how He's doing that for them, He hadn't done nothing for me, na, na, na, na, na".
I thought about how that here is Simon Peter saying, getting an attitude, "What about him"? And then you fast forward in the New Testament to the book of Acts 12, watch this now, and Herod is such a wicked king that he beheads James, cut his head off, James. And in the cell next to him is Simon Peter. And the king said, "As soon as the sun comes up in the morning, cut Simon, cut his head off, too". And the church was praying for both of these men at a woman's house named Rhoda. They were having an old-fashioned prayer meeting, pleading the blood of Jesus, crying out, using the name of Jesus, "Deliver them, oh, God, deliver them".
And James got his head cut off, 24 hours later, Simon Peter is supposed to be executed, watch. And God sends an angel to the same jail cell, two cells beside each other. One of them gets their head cut off, and the other one has a jailbreak. The angel opens, has to wake him up, escorts him out, and he goes to the prayer meeting. They opened the door, and they're shouting and praising God. His family, "Daddy, daddy. You're home". His wife, cause he did have a wife 'cause he had a mother in law that had a fever, I know that. And so, they're all hugging him, and Jesus healed the fever, but He may not heal your fever. "And that's not much of a faith message". Yes, it is. You don't even know what faith is.
Faith isn't always getting a miracle. Faith is believing even when you don't understand. Faith is believing and trusting even when you don't have an explanation. Faith is standing firm, and throwing your hands up, and praising God, and confessing His word no matter what you're looking at. And you know what, I couldn't help but think about James' family. While everybody's shouting, and Simon Peter's wife is hugging him, and kissing him, his little children are all over, grabbing his legs, "Daddy, daddy, daddy". Wonder what James family was thinking? Wonder what his widow was doing? Isn't that amazing? He's got a problem on one day, because this is life, folks. This is how it is.
If you just one of these people, you gon' serve the Lord for what He can give you, "Gimme, gimme, gimme, my name is Jimmy. Come on, Lord. Come on, Lord". You'll have some of those days that will blow your mind, He can do it. But you're also gon' have some of those days when He says, "I want you to follow me for me. I don't want you to follow me for any other reason but because you love me, and you wanna do what I've called you to do. My assignment for you is one thing, feed my sheep, but my assignment for you is on the day of Pentecost, you gon' step out on the streets, and you gonna give birth to a mighty church, and it's gonna send revival," that we are a part of to this day.
"But I also have a plan for John. I'mma keep him alive, and on the Aisle of Patmos, I'm gonna let my Spirit come on him, and catch him up into Heaven. He's gonna write a brochure on Heaven and talk about streets of gold, and gates of pearl. He's gon' give people hope beyond this world, and he's got one plan, and I've got one plan for you. And what's it to you if I wanna do that with him? I want you to follow me for you". "Well, why was I abused? Why was I raped? What about them? You don't love me? Why didn't God intervene"? Sometimes it's just where, people's choices. If somebody gets drunk today, and they go down the road, it's not God, and they run into a family, and they kill someone, that's not God, that's a human will. Do you want God to suspend human will completely? "Well, Pastor, what are you saying"?
I'm saying, either way, we have to get to a mature faith. We have to get to a place to where we say, "Whatever happens in my life, in sunshine or rain, I will lift my hands. And though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. I'll face it with joy, I'll face it with faith, I'll face it even when I don't understand". Look at Jesus on the cross. Why did God not intervene? Why didn't Jesus, on the cross, call 10,000 angels like He said I could do if I want to? But He knew by the non-intervention, He could have said, "You just wait. You just wait, you who are driving these nails through my hands". He could have flinched His fist, clenched His fist, and said, "You just wait. I'mma get you back if it's the last thing I do". Instead, He said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do".
Stephen, Stephen, look at Stephen standing there being stoned to death. Angel, the Bible said, "His face lit up like an angel and they could not resist the Spirit by which he spoke". While they're stoning him, God could have turned those stones into marshmallows. He let Simon Peter out of that prison, but there came, later a time, when Paul the Apostle gets beat with whips. In Acts 16, he was bloodied, and he was beaten, and his back was strike. Don't you know God didn't intervene, but He could've turned that whip into wet noodles. He said, "No, I've got a cause, I've got a purpose. I'mma show my glory in lives".
And sometimes, God allows us to go through non-interventions in seasons where He says, "You follow me through this thing, and it's not your time for that, it's your time for this. And if I'm allowing you to go through it even though I'm not doing all this to you, all this bad stuff to you, I promise you, I'mma get glory out of it if you'll follow me". And Stephen is being stoned, and your Bible said there's a guy named Saul of Tarsus who's holding the coats of the stoners. Saul of Tarsus would be converted and become Paul the Apostle. And had Stephen not had to deal with the non-intervention of God, and the rocks are hitting him, and he sees Jesus, and he dies seeing Jesus, the Apostle Paul standing there, and something begins to shift in his heart, a hater of Christianity, now something, as seed is planted. You understand what I'm saying?
Sometimes God lets us go through stuff to show His grace to other people that we have no idea what He's doing. I'll speak for my own family. We've been through things the last few years that I never dreamed we would deal with. I'll never forget my daughter Courteney, down in the basement of our home where her bedroom was. We had picked her up from college, and what I'm sharing, we've shared before. And it felt like our world was falling to pieces. I never had stuff like this hit my family... I'd pray for you people, I try to counsel you people, I try to understand and hear the things, "Oh, my child's on this, my child's on that, this and that, this has happened, that has happened".
And I thought I understood, I thought, I really thought I was sincere as I could be. I did not have a clue because we were just the perfect little family. Just the perfect little family. And when that thing hit my family, and I'll never forget the night my daughter is standing in that basement, and she's revealed everything to us, and all that has happened, and all that she's dealing with. And we're standing there, me and Cherise look at each other, its finally come out, we finally heard it all. I thought that was the end of our world and our life. It felt like we were crashing and burning.
I fast forward to this past week, and that same girl, and the Lord said to me, the Lord said to me, "Now, if she hadn't gone through that", I was thinking about this message. 'Cause I said to God when all of that was going, when it really got frustrated on the frustrating days, and I still, we still got stuff we're dealing with. And I said, "What about that family? I mean, why are their kids just perfect"? Or "Why is their marriage this perfect"? And "Why can't Cherise get herself together? We fight too much. It's her? What is the deal? Look at those lovie dovies, look at them".
Oh, I'm preaching whether you wanna, you just, you just pretend. I don't have time to pretend. I really love my wife. I love her now like I have never... I've always loved her, but I know how to love her now. And I can stand up here, and I can tell you she had about all of me she could stand until we reached the point, we had to get help, we had to go to counseling, we still got to counseling, and I don't care what you think about me. All I can tell you is, if you follow Him, He'll work it out. I don't know who I'm preaching to, and if I have to be made a fool, and we have to be seen as crazy, then so be it. No, you don't have a perfect preacher, nor a perfect family does he have.
But boy, I tell you what we got, we got Jesus blood for our family. We got Jesus blood on my children, on their good, on their bad, on my marriage, on my family, and I promise you, when the trumpet sounds, we're going to Heaven, hallelujah. And I'll follow Him, I'll follow Him right through every fire I go through. And maybe, just maybe, maybe when we're under the load like we have been through the last few years with divorce, and stuff hitting our kids and our family, and all kinds of stuff, and oh my God, addictions and all of kinds of stuff.
And I could be quiet, and I pretend, "Praise the Lord". I'm done with that kind of Christianity. I wanna tell somebody, I can't promise you it's gon' happen like that, I can't promise you you're not gon' cry all night, I can't promise you you can't, you gonna have to go do what you can do to get some help, I can't promise you it's just gonna be bam! A miracle. But I can promise you if you'll hold to God's unchanging hand, if you'll say, "Lord, I will not let go until you bless me and my family". I'm seeing breakthrough in every area of my life right now. Somebody shout. Somebody take a minute and let hell know its not gonna win. The devil is a liar. Satan is a liar.