‘But what about him?’

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'” (John 21:20-22)

There is a popular argument for not believing that Jesus is the only way to heaven. How could Jesus be the only way to heaven when not everyone on the planet has even heard about Jesus? Would a just and loving God condemn people to hell for the crime of growing up where they never heard about Jesus?

There is more than one approach to this question, but one of the most important is that introduced by the example of Jesus and Peter in the dialogue above. Peter is wondering how John was going to die, and Jesus says, “What is that to you? You must follow me.”

What about the guy who grows up a Buddhist and never hears about Jesus? The answer is the same: “What is that to you? You must follow me.”

One has to already know a good deal about Jesus to even be asking this question, and to use it as an excuse not to believe is ludicrous. That’s saying you are not going to be accountable to what you know about Jesus, or could find out if you tried, because there is a guy somewhere in the world who in your estimation can’t find out anything.

When Jesus said: “You follow me,” He was saying: “You follow what you know of me — what has been revealed to you. You are not responsible for what has been revealed to someone else; that is between my Father and that person.”

This also applies to our experience in life. When you want to compare your life to someone else’s — someone else has had it better or worse than you — guess what Jesus says. “What is that to you? You must follow me.”

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5 Responses to ‘But what about him?’

  1. It is so hard sometimes to remember that no matter what we do, God is the one who “calls, saves, reveals, directs”. And we’ll never fully understand Him. He asks us to follow, to love, to “be” without conforming, and through that He works miracles that we have almost nothing to do with except that we were available and obeying.

  2. Just so we remember that “you follow Me” means “go – and make disciples of all nations”. If someone has not heard of Jesus, is it not our responsibility to try to tell him/her about Him? We do have to make sure we follow what Jesus tells us to do and not worry about whether someone else is doing the same; but I can’t see how “what about those who haven’t heard of Him?” is a valid argument.

  3. Mark Seguin says:

    Good catch! These are a few of my favorite verses, simply becauz it reminds me of MYOB: Mind Your Own Business.

  4. Hans says:

    Hi John-

    When I was saved eight years ago, I received a message from God, saying:

    “You can go on living – but from now on you have to dedicate your life to Jesus Christ” –

    He didn’t say Buddha, or Siva, or Allah, etc – and I didn’t know Jesus at all then and never had set foot – not really anyway – inside a church.

    But still I find it hard to respond when somebody tells me: “So all those millions of people in the world who believe in something/somebody else are wrong then, and only you are right?!”

    I think that even Billy Graham – in his reluctance to have to tell those who do not know Christ that they will go to hell – now says that God’s plan of salvation is His only and is much wider and more inclusive than we with our limited, judgmental brains can imagine, also including (some of) those who for some reason have not heard of Christ.

    Of course we who are saved must always point others to Jesus Christ, the One who says “I am THE way”… and whose Spirit we have.

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