Lessons from John 21: Jesus Command to Follow
III. Jesus command to follow~~~John 21:18-25
Now after Jesus had restored Peter privately and reinstated Peter publicly, Jesus went on to speak to Peter about his future. Jesus tells Peter in verse 18, “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress and lead you where you do not want to go.”
John tells us in verse 19, “Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then Jesus commissioned Peter and said to him, ‘Follow me!’”
Jesus revealed to Peter that one day he would indeed prove His love for Jesus by fulfilling that vow as he had once proclaimed. Peter would be imprisoned and chained and led by guards to be crucified for His commitment to do exactly as Jesus had instructed him. After Jesus Christ had laid the foundation for the Gospel by His death, resurrection, and soon to be ascension, Jesus empowered Peter’s life to become a successful fisher of men, one who was satisfied and content to feed His lambs and sheep the Word of God.
And Peter became a leader that indeed others desired to follow. Why? Because Peter followed Jesus, even unto death. Death by way of crucifixion, but out of respect for his Lord, Peter asked that he be hung upside down as he was not worthy to die in the same way as His Lord. Peter had indeed become the little “rock” upon which Jesus Christ built His church.
Persecution and martyrdom were a part of God’s perfect plan for Peter. He would bring glory to God as he literally died for Jesus.
Your notes say that “Previously Peter had gone his own way and fulfilled his own desires. But from this time forward, everything changed. Peter, as if for the first time understood that Jesus was indeed the master of his life; and Peter was not.”
As they were talking, Peter noticed that John was following them and he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Peter wanted to know what Jesus’ plans were for John. What work did Jesus have for him and how would he give his life for Jesus?
And Jesus answered Peter in verse 22 by stating that it was none of Peter’s business. Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” Clearly, it was not for Peter to know. Jesus said, “Peter you must follow me.”
Well, because others had heard Jesus’ statement, rumors began to spread among the “brothers” (meaning among the body of Christ) that John would not die. But this is not what Jesus had said, he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
Peter’s job was to focus on Jesus and the work He had designed for Peter and Peter alone to do. And John would need to do the same.
Principle: God calls His people to enjoy His fellowship, feed His flock and bring Him glory.
None of us know how many todays or tomorrows we have left, that’s entirely up to God, but our responsibility as His people is to live every day, in every way, in light of His eternity.
What is God calling you to do? You alone! Remember that His plan for each of us is special and unique and one that we alone are to fulfill. Have you learned to rest your life in His hands and trust Him to guide your life each day until that final day? He has a special plan for your days and how they will end!
John closes out this book by telling us that everything written in it is true and trustworthy. In fact, John testifies that there were many other things that Jesus had done, but quite possibly if all of them were recorded there would not be enough room in the whole world for the books that could be written.
Instead, John wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit all that we and others needed to hear in order to believe that Jesus is indeed the Christ, the unique and promised Messiah the Son of God. And so I suppose we will all spend eternity listening and learning of all things God has done for us and others like us.
But until that day there is still a work to be done, may we all be about His business of living and learning and leading others while we have the opportunity!
Now to Him who is able to do more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us, to Him be the glory in the church, here in BSF and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever!