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The Hidden Will of God

John 21:20-25

Rev. Andrew Eckert

St. John, Eve of Holy Innocents
St. Paul's Lutheran Church  
Wellston, Oklahoma

Mon, Dec 27, 2010 

Today we see Saint Peter poking into the hidden will of God.

Peter has just been told by Jesus that he will suffer death for the sake of Jesus.  Then Peter looks over at Saint John, standing nearby, and Peter asks Jesus, "What about him?" as if to say, "How is he going to die?"

Jesus replies to Peter, "If I decide that John will remain until I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me."

We are often curious to know the hidden will of God, both about ourselves and about others.  Peter happened to hear Jesus reveal something about his own future.  But that does not change the tasks laid before Peter.  "Follow Me," says Jesus.  Whatever time and circumstances you are set in, be faithful to the Word, repent of your sins, confess Jesus Christ, and live out your vocation.  You do not need to be concerned about what God's secret purpose for your life is.  Even if you knew it, how would it do you any good?  The right thing to do is still the right thing to do.

Enough of God's will has been revealed in His Word.  We have seen the secret mystery of the ages unfolded in the monumental works of Christ: His incarnation, birth, life, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension.  Those things are the will of God revealed to us.  There is all the love and mercy of our Redeemer.  That is more than enough for us.

So it is also enough to live out our own lives without sticking our noses into other people's lives.  Peter wanted to know what was going to happen with John.  Why was that Peter's business?  So also we have more than enough to keep us busy by keeping the commandments in our vocation, and then turning in repentance to Christ whenever we fail.  Leave the other people alone.  God has a plan and purpose for them, but that is not for us to know.  If God happens to reveal it to us somehow, well and good.  But otherwise, we should keep our nose in our own business.

What did John do?  Here we have the faithful example of the disciple who loved his Lord.  This disciple testified of the things he had received.  He wrote them down in the fourth gospel that bears his name.  He testified truthfully, without embellishing or giving his own opinions.  John was concerned with bearing witness to Christ and His death and resurrection.  These things are enough, and more than enough.

We, also, can faithfully testify.  We are not eyewitnesses of Christ's earthly life.  Yet He Himself has washed us.  He Himself has spoken His forgiving Gospel to us.  He Himself has fed us His most holy Body and Blood.  These things were not done by a mere man, but by the God-Man, begotten from eternity, yet born of the Virgin.  He has served us in this place with His grace.

We do not need to tell others how that made us feel, or how the quality of our life is better because of Christ.  We do not need to add to the Gospel message to make it better or more effective.  We do not need to be more friendly or more persuasive or more sensitive to people's felt needs.  No, we need only speak the Word truthfully.  Be faithful to the Word, and it is enough, and more than enough.

In the Name of this eternal Word, with the Father and the Spirit, one God forever.  Amen.

You may quote from my sermons freely, but please quote accurately if you attribute anything to me.

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