We humans are essentially curious creatures. Whether it’s talk around the corner store in small town USA or an article in People magazine, we love gossip. We love to poke our nose into other folks’ business. Somehow knowing what they did and said fills our need for entertainment and provides fodder for that most enjoyable game of all, comparison and judgment. We would never call it that, and may even try to disguise our disdain with pious protestations of only being concerned or just wanting to know what is going on so we can help, but most of the time our curiosity about the situations of others is more voyeurism than philanthropy.
In this passage Jesus is telling Peter his own story. One day Peter will die for the gospel. Ignoring or trying to forget his own fate, Peter asks what will happen to his friend John, walking nearby. In no uncertain terms Jesus lets Peter know that John’s future is between God and John, just as Peter’s future is between God and Peter. We don’t get to know about God’s plans for other people because they are just that, God’s plans for other people, not for us.
Sadly, I think God has to do this because if we knew, we would waste time comparing and complaining about how our future life stacks up against their future. It would be no surprise, given the amount of time and effort we spend complaining about the present differences between our lives and those of folks we consider unfairly blessed. (i.e. everyone who has anything we want and do not have) Lets take Christ’s clue and drop all this curiosity about what everyone else has and the lives they lead. Let us focus instead on the life with which God has entrusted us, our own, and strive to live out His call to us in our specific situation.