Peter vs. Paul . . . A Contrast In Style
“Follow me” . . .
It’s interesting to observe, compare and contrast the differences between Paul’s response to Jesus’ invitation to follow him (Acts 28:16-20, 30-31) and Peter’s in John’s Gospel (21:20-25), the Readings chosen for today.
In Paul, we find a man imprisoned for upwards of two years, a victim of the complex and multi-layered quagmire that is borne out of the differences in tbe long held beliefs of the Sanhedrin and the Pharisee. Yet he remained fixed on “receiving all who came to him” so as to fulfill his duty as God’s faithful prophet of the Gentiles.
With complete and total confidence in God’s love for both him and those he was called to teach, Paul valiantly forged ahead and “without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God
and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” It was, as he himself put it, on account of the hope of his native Israel that he was shackled by the very chains that constrained him.
In the case of Peter however, we find a man curiously pre-occupied with other thoughts. When he inquires about the fate of John, Jesus rebuffs him by asking in return “What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” Once again, Jesus reveals himself to be that which binds heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, and his response is without question a harbinger of eternal life. Whereas we can get bogged down in the mundane and insignificant details of life, as Peter did, Jesus always has his eyes fixed upon that which we are made for: Eternity.
Jesus is the new Jerusalem, the fruit of the new covenant. and it is through the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit that we will come to know God the Son in a fuller and more meaningful and living way.
Will you follow him?