John 21:14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. 18 "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."


Today we look a little closer at the three do you love Me statements and what they mean to us in practical terms of what we need to do and how we need to live in light of these questions.  Peter is like us in that he is not willing to totally commit to something unless we are sure WE can pull it off.  So, Jesus gives a prophecy of how Peter will die.  He tells Peter that he will live to be an old man and then they will put him on a cross. That he will glorify God through his death.  That is just like God to let us know, yes you have failed, yes you are hesitant to fully commit now because of your failure, but I am going to use you anyway. Also, I want to let you know that when it comes  time to stand up for me, you will not fail, you will not make the same mistake again and you will ultimately do the will of God as you are supposed to when it really counts.  2Co 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!


14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. Joh 20:19,26

John said that this was the third post-resurrection appearance "to the disciples" (i.e., the apostles, cf. 20:19-23, 26-29). Chronologically this was at least Jesus' seventh post-resurrection appearance (cf. 20:11-18; Matt.

28:8-10; 1 Cor. 15:5; Luke 24:13-32; John 20:19-23, 26-29). Nevertheless it was the third appearance to the disciples, and the third appearance to the disciples that John recorded.

John viewed this appearance as further proof of Jesus' resurrection. Perhaps he viewed it as completing a full complement of testimonies since he drew attention to its being the third appearance to the disciples. The number three in Scripture sometimes connotes fullness or completeness (e.g., the three Persons of the Trinity). However by calling this appearance a "manifestation" (Gr. ephanerothe, cf. v. 1) John indicated that he also viewed it as a revelation of Jesus' true character. So far Jesus had reminded these disciples of lessons that He had taught them previously that were important for them to remember in view of their mission. He had also set the stage for an even more important lesson that would follow.

I believe there are lessons to be learned from this miracle in the light of its similarity to the great fish harvest of Luke 5. Because of the fishing miracle in Luke 5, Peter and the other disciples came to see Jesus (and themselves) in a whole new light. There, Peter realizes he is not worthy to be in the same boat with Jesus. In John 21, Peter and the others are once again awed by our Lord and His works. In both texts, these professional fishermen were not able to catch anything on their own, even though they were laboring in the area of their expertise.

Jesus taught them that He is the source of their success, He is the One Who, when obeyed, makes men fruitful fishermen.

In Luke 5, the disciples were called to leave their fishing boats and to become “fishers of men” (5:10). I believe that John 21:1-14 is a reaffirmation of that original call. The disciples are all waiting around, wondering what to do with their lives.

I believe that by means of this miracle Jesus reiterates and reinforces their original call, which came in Luke 5.

There are some interesting differences in these accounts as well—and lessons to be learned from them.

The most obvious (and probably the most important) difference is that in Luke 5, Jesus was in the boat. In John 21, Jesus is on the shore. You may think I am pressing the limits of this story, but there is a lesson here: “Jesus is able to guide, to provide for, and to watch over His disciples just as well (better?) from a distance, as He is able to care for them “up close and personal.” From 100 yards away, Jesus knew they had caught no fish. From 100 yards away, Jesus could guide them to an abundance of fish. Even before they saw Him, Jesus was prepared to provide for their needs. He had breakfast “on the table,” so to speak, when they arrived on shore. Were the disciples uneasy about Jesus going away, about Jesus leaving them to return to His Father? Such fears are unfounded. He is just as able to care for them when He is in heaven as He was to care for them while He was on earth. I think this was a significant part of the lesson He wanted them to learn.

That is why this story is included here -- to teach us that in the work of evangelizing, whether through mass evangelism or individual witnessing, God himself is working with us and will supply far more than we ever dreamed.

Both of these accounts refer to Peter as "Simon Peter." Recall that when the Spirit of God uses the name "Simon" Peter, the natural Peter, the one with whom we feel a kinship, the Peter in us all, is in view.

And three times, Jesus is going to ask Peter the same question, or at least, we think it’s the same question, but as we’ll see as we move through this there’s actually a subtle shift in this question that we can’t see in our English Bibles, right?

It’s a rich picture of how intimately Jesus knows His friend, Peter, and by implication, how He knows us.

So, not only the guilt of, “Oh, I failed, and I didn’t respond well,” but, “Let me restore you to a place of usability that’s far beyond your wildest imagination.”

We need to keep this in mind as well, especially those of us who are very aware of our own sins, and how we have failed…

No matter how great a person is, he may fall (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12).[i]

  • Would you begin to understand that nothing you will ever done will make Him love you more, -and nothing you have ever done will make Him love you less. And when you start there, I believe the prayer thing is going to take care of itself.” But we’re all in this performance quota, “I have to do this before God will look on me favorably.”

He could not have demonstrated His love more profoundly than He already has. Why would He then change that conditionally based upon our works? So the motivation is, “I love you, and I want to respond well to you.”

Not, “I need to pray more, I need to be more faithful, I shouldn’t have done that.” What a terrible way to live the Christian life. Ultimately, that performance mindset that you’re talking about is legalism. It’s an attempt to self-justify and we have to come back and say do we believe that Christ has paid it all, and that we’re accepted not because of what we do, - but because of what He has done? And Peter had to realize that as well. As we pick up this account in John’s Gospel, Jesus has just finished cooking breakfast for His friends, and He’s about to have a conversation with Peter.

to follow Christ as maybe we have promised to do. Jesus is in the business of restoration. I am inclined to understand verses 1-14 in terms of evangelism—being fishers of men. But it is not enough to simply bring a lost sinner to faith in Jesus Christ; that person should also be discipled, and thus brought to maturity in Christ. This seems to be implicit in the Great Commission:

Lu 24:33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"

Mr. 16:7 "But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."

Jesus is not seeking to correct (or even rebuke) Peter here for his three-fold denial. Jesus personally revealed Himself to Peter, probably before He appeared to the disciples as a group (1 Corinthians 15:5; Luke 24:34; Mark 16:7). I believe it is there that our Lord dealt with Peter’s three-fold denial, and forgave him. In our text, Peter is eager to be with our Lord. I believe this is because Peter’s sins have already been confronted and forgiven, and thus he has already been restored to fellowship with the Master

I am not even inclined to see this text as Peter’s restoration to leadership. There are some scholars who hold that Peter was restored to fellowship in his private interview with Jesus, and that this incident is his public restoration to leadership. I see the emphasis of this passage falling on humble service, not on leadership, per se.?????????

this passage is more about love than about leadership. Love for Jesus is demonstrated by faithfully caring for His sheep. So, too, when we care for the sheep whom our Lord loves, and for whom He gave His life, we show our love for the Shepherd.

caution should be exercised in making too much of the two different words for “love” which are employed in this text. The two verbs are agapao and phileo. The first two times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, the word for love is agapao. The third time Jesus asks, He employs the term phileo. Every time Peter responds to Jesus’ question, indicating his love, he employs the word phileo. The distinctions that some make between these two terms may hold true in some cases, and for some authors. They do not seem to hold true for John, who often uses different terms for the same concept. When commentators do seek to emphasize the distinctions between the two Greek words John uses, they do not agree as to what the meaning and emphasis of these terms are. We should keep in mind that when Jesus spoke to Peter and asked him these three questions, He spoke not in Greek (the language in which the Gospel of John is written), but in Aramaic, the language spoken by the Jews of that day. The change in words may have some significance, but I hardly think it is the key to understanding the passage.

Jesus began by addressing Peter as Simon the son of Jonas. In the Gospels, Jesus addressed Peter this way on only the most important occasions. These were his call to follow Jesus (1:42), his confession of Jesus as the Son of God (Matt. 16:17), and as he slept in Gethsemane (Mark 14:37).????????????

 When Jesus addressed Peter this way here, Peter probably realized that what Jesus was about to say to him was extremely important.

"His [Peter's] actions had shown that Peter had not wanted a crucified Lord. But Jesus was crucified. How did Peter's devotion stand in the light of this? Was he ready to love Jesus as he was, and not as Peter wished him to be?"

His will is content with following. His work is compelled by love. His way is committed to God. And his work, or his will is content with following, but his words are about Jesus.

Number one, his work is compelled by love. A real committed Christian operates on the basis of his love for the Lord. Two, his way is controlled by God. He has learned how to give his life totally to God and trust Him for it. His will is content with following. He's happy to do what Jesus leads him to do. Fourth, his words are concerning Jesus. His work is compelled by love. His way is controlled by God. His will is content with following. And his words are concerned with Jesus.

  1. A committed Christian operates on the basis of his love for the Lord.

 15 ¶ So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."

Each question begins with Simon, son of John. It’s funny to me that He names him Peter, but He never calls him Peter but one time. At least, it’s only recorded one time that He calls him Peter. He still calls him Simon. I think it has to do with the person of him before the Holy Spirit indwells him because in Acts he’ll be known primarily as Peter. But now, Jesus still calls him Simon.  Called Him Simon Peter every time something important occurred. Original calling, garden of gethsemane, and now.

Peter had denied that he was one of Jesus' disciples and that he even knew Jesus three times. Thus Jesus' question was reasonable. He wanted Peter to think about just how strong his love for Jesus really was.

"There can be little doubt but that the whole scene is meant to show us Peter as completely restored to his position of leadership. . . . It is further worth noting that the one thing about which Jesus questioned Peter prior to commissioning him to tend the flock was love. This is the basic qualification for Christian service. Other qualities may be desirable, but love is completely indispensable (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3)."

Our Lord’s addition of the words, “more than these do,” really got to the heart of the matter. Our Lord’s prediction of Peter’s denials came in the midst of Peter’s confident boasting that even if all the others denied Jesus, he certainly would not. In other words, Peter was claiming a higher level of devotion than the rest. Jesus is simply asking him to re-evaluate his boastful claim. And this Peter did. Peter could truthfully affirm that he did love Jesus, but he would not go so far as to claim that his love was greater than that of his fellow-disciples. He also speaks of his love in terms of the Savior’s assessment of it: “Yes, Lord, You know I love You.” To this our Lord replied, “Feed My lambs.”

There is some discussion over what Jesus means here. The verse could be translated (and understood) in several ways. (1) “Peter, do you love me more than these fish, more than this boat and the nets, and the things which represent your life of a fisherman?” (2) “Peter, do you love Me more than you love these men?” (3) “Peter, do you love me more than these men do?”

But a comparison of these two accounts reveals that what he means is, "Do you love me more than these men love me?" Before he denied Jesus, Peter had inferred that he loved Jesus much more than they. "All men will forsake you, Lord, but I will lay down my life for you," he had said. Clearly he regards himself as more faithful and more committed than the others, whom he expected would desert the Lord in a time of danger. Thus Jesus addresses these words to him, "Do you love me more than these?"

When we bring that into our context, taken together, “Peter, now that you’ve denied me three times, remember I told you you’d deny me? Now that you’ve denied me three times, can you tell me that you love me more than these people love me?” That’s the question He’s posing to him.

And Peter is saying, “Look, Lord you knew I was going to deny you three times, you know if I love you or not, Lord.”
Now, Peter is starting to develop a fuller Christology. This Jesus Christ knows everything about him. And He knows everything about him now. That’s why it grieved him, I think. Three times, “Lord, you know I love you. You know everything.”

Peter has learned some painful but necessary lessons. He does not judge himself in relationship to the others, but reads his own heart and replies, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." He makes no mention of the others. Here is a great lesson on how we are to look at others. Peter indicates he has learned to read his Lord's mind better. In the Garden of Gethsemane he felt that his love for Jesus required that he assault the enemies of his Lord, but here he learns that he is responsible to feed the sheep of Jesus. That is the correct manifestation of love.

Jesus responded graciously by giving Peter a command, Tend My lambs” This is an PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE. All three of these statements are the same grammatical form.

Note that Christ gives Peter a new commission: he is now a shepherd (pastor) besides being a fisher of men. (See 1 Peter 5.) He is now to shepherd the lambs and sheep and feed them the Word of God. All Christians are expected to be fishers of men (soul-winners), but some have been called into the special ministry of shepherding the flock. What good is it to win the lost if there is no church where they might be fed and cared for?

When Peter sinned, he did not lose his Sonship, but he did fall away from his discipleship. For this reason Christ repeated His call, “Follow Me.” Christ also confronts Peter with the cross (v. 18), indicating that Peter would one day be crucified himself. (See 2 Peter 1:12–14.) Before we can follow Christ, we must take up the cross. When you recall that earlier Peter tried to keep Christ from the cross, this commandment takes on new meaning (Matt. 16:21–28).[ii]

He told Peter to tend (Gr. boske, feed) His lambs (Gr. arnia). Previously Jesus had referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd (10:14). Now he was committing the care of His flock to this disciple who had failed Him miserably in the past. Jesus had formerly called Peter to be a fisher of men, an essentially evangelistic ministry (Matt. 4:19). Now he was  broadening  this  calling  to  include  being  a  shepherd  of  sheep,  a pastoral ministry.

The image, however, changes from that of the fisherman to that of the shepherd. Peter was to minister both as an evangelist (catching the fish) and a pastor (shepherding the flock). It is unfortunate when we divorce these two because they should go together. Pastors ought to evangelize (2 Tim. 4:5) and then shepherd the people they have won so that they mature in the Lord.

Here is the chief work of a shepherd. Jesus says to Peter, "Feed my lambs"; "Tend my sheep"; "Feed my sheep." Three aspects of feeding are suggested here:

"Feed my lambs." Teach the children. Do not wait for them to grow up. Teach children from the Word what life is all about.

Peter was grieved because Jesus found it necessary to ask virtually the same question three times. I do not like to be asked the same question repeatedly. I conclude that either the person asking the question wasn’t paying attention (this could not be the case with Jesus), or that my answer was not acceptable or credible. The three-fold repetition must have registered with Peter as being related to his three-fold denial. Peter was grieved because he realized that the bold and even arrogant claims he had made proved to be empty. Peter is not distressed with Jesus; he is grieved over his own sin.

Jesus is not attempting to shame Peter; he is seeking to reaffirm his call to service. Did Jesus question Peter about his love for Him three times? Then note that three times Jesus instructed Peter to care for His sheep. Does Peter fear he has been cast aside as useless? Jesus tells him to return to His work, three times!

Peter really did love Jesus. But Peter needed to understand that his love for the Savior was not as great as he thought, just as his ability to catch fish was not as great as he seemed to think. In loving, and in landing fish, Jesus was supreme.

  • Even in the thing Peter did best (fishing), he could not hold a candle to Jesus, who proved to be far better at fishing than he. Peter sought to prove his love for Jesus by boasting about it, by arguing with his fellow-disciples about it (see Luke 22:24), and by being the first to draw his sword and lop off an ear, or perhaps even by being the first man into the water and onto the shore. These were not the benchmarks our Lord had established for testing one’s love for Him.
  • The proof of one’s love for God is sacrificial service —feeding our Lord’s sheep.
  • The way I understand verses 15-19 is something like this: “Peter, do you really love Me as much as you say? Then prove your love for Me by taking care of My sheep.” Jesus is the “Good Shepherd,” Who cares for His sheep (see John 10).
  • If Peter really loves his Lord, then his passion will be the Lord’s passion.

The circumstances must have reminded Peter of the scene of his denial. And if the circumstances as such did not remind him of this, what was about to happen was bound to do so. Note the following resemblances: 1. It was at a charcoal fire that Peter denied his Master (18:18). It is here at another charcoal fire (21:9) that he is asked to confess (his love for) his Master. 2. Three times Peter had denied his Master (18:17, 25, 27). Three times he must now own him as his Lord, whom he loves (21:15-17). 3. The prediction with reference to the denial had been introduced with the solemn double Amen (13:38; see on 1:51). The prediction which immediately followed Peter’s confession was introduced similarly (21:18).

Ps 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

  • But it has been shown that the resemblance is even more pointed. In reverse order the same three ideas—1. following, 2. a cross, 3. denying—occur here in 21:15-19 as in 13:36-38.” William Hendriksen, Exposition of the Gospel According to John, II , p. 486.

John 21:15-17 is more about love than about leadership. “Peter if you’re going to love me, part of that will be shepherding and feeding and caring for my sheep, but the manifestation of those attributes come connected to your love to me. If you love me, Peter, you will shepherd the flock that I will give to you. My passion, Peter, will be your passion. The things I’m concerned about, Peter, will be the things you’re concerned about, if you love me.”

 16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." Ac 20:28; Heb 13:20; 1Pe 2:25; 5:2,4

Now the first and third words for “feed”, “Feed my sheep… feed my lambs… “ is the same word. The middle word is the word I want to talk about. The middle word is the word shepherding. Some of your translations use the word “care for”, and it has the root of a pastor. In fact, the word that Jesus uses here for Peter to shepherd is the word for pastoring and for eldering. Pastoring is the gift, eldering is the function. It is a shepherd; one who cares for people. The shepherd-sheep relationship describes the spiritual task of leaders of God’s people. The command ‘to shepherd’ includes guiding, guarding, feeding, protecting.

Then, "Shepherd my sheep." The word means, watch over, guard them. In Peter's first letter he says to the elders to whom he is writing, "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, watching out for them," (1 Peter 5:2). Try to discern where they are at, apprehend the coming dangers, warn and guard them. That is the work of a shepherd.

  • The verbal tense conveys urgency. It calls upon the elder to have the official life of devotion to serving the flock of God.”

 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep. Joh 2:24-25; 16:30

Jesus is the “Good Shepherd”; He is the Shepherd who came to lay down His life for His sheep. If Peter really loves Jesus, he will care for the Master’s sheep, and he, like the Master, will lay down his life for the sheep. Love manifests itself in service—humble, sacrificial, service.

            You become like the people you love. The things they love, you love. If Peter really loves his Lord, Who is the Good Shepherd, then Peter will surely seek to shepherd in the same way.

He will seek the lost sheep (evangelism). He will feed and tend the young and vulnerable lambs (discipleship). And, like the Good Shepherd, he will lay down his life for the sheep. That is why the Lord moves so quickly and easily from verses 15-17 to verses 18 and 19. Peter had assured his Lord that he was willing to die for Him (Matthew 26:35), and so he will. But he will not die in the manner that he once supposed—seeking to keep His Master from being arrested and crucified. Peter will die, as the Savior did, as a good shepherd, and for the sake of the gospel.

Finally, "Feed my sheep, my grown-up ones."

The instrument of feeding, of course, is the teaching of the Word of God. Open their minds to the thoughts of God. This is the missing element in the church today.

The primary function of shepherding is in teaching and explaining the Gospel and the Word to the flock of God.

People are not thinking the thoughts of God, not looking at life the way God sees it, but following blindly after the fantasies and the illusions of the world. What is necessary is the unfolding of the mind of God in obedience to the word of Jesus: "Teach the word." The weakness of the church flows from a famine of the Word of God.

  • Peter had learned not to make rash professions of great love. Therefore he did not compare his love for Jesus to the love of the other disciples as he had done before. He simply appealed to Jesus' knowledge of his heart.
  • Notice that throughout this interchange Jesus consistently referred to the sheep as His sheep, not Peter's sheep. Moreover Jesus described Peter's ministry in terms of acts, not in terms of an office. Later Peter wrote to elders urging  them  to  apply  these  same  viewpoints  to  their  pastoral ministry (1Pet. 5:1-4).

The Greek word for “sheep” at the end of John 21:17 means “dear sheep.

  1. A committed Christian’s way is controlled by God.

Having loved Jesus Christ to that extent that you'd give your life for Him, it's no problem to hand Him your life and let Him keep it. Didn't Paul say, "I'm confident that what I've given the Lord He'll keep till the day of Jesus Christ?" And as a Christian, you can say, "All right, Lord, I love You, here's my life, You've got it now, it's up to You to do what You want." Are you willing to say that? Whatever God's will is, he'll do it. The committed Christian yields the control of his destiny to God, no questions asked. Psalm 37:5 puts it this way, "Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him." Just let it go. Here's my life, God, and it's Yours, do whatever You want. And Paul says, "If I live, I live unto the Lord. If I die, I die unto the Lord. So, if I live, if I die, I'm the Lord's." See. I gave myself to Him.

18 "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."

Joh 13:36; Ac 12:3-4

Peter had been learning how his self-confidence led to failure and how he needed to depend on Jesus more (i.e., "You know vv. 15, 16, 17). Jesus reminded Peter that as time passed he would become increasingly dependent on others even to the point of being unable to escape a martyr's death. Therefore, Jesus implied, Peter should commit his future to God rather than trying to control it himself as he had formerly tried to do.

    "The long painful history of the Church is the history of people ever and again tempted to choose power over love, control over the cross, being a leader over being led."

For Peter, following Jesus would involve more than teaching, it would ultimately involve pain, suffering, deprivation, and death. This was historically fulfilled.

Clearly this book was written after the death of Peter, as John records the way Peter would die. Eusebius, the church historian, tells us that when Peter went to Rome at the close of his life (by the way, he did not found the church at Rome at all; he went there much later), he was finally imprisoned, his hands were bound and he was led out to the place of execution, and there he was crucified. At his own request he was crucified upside down because he did not feel he was worthy to share the manner of his Lord's death.

Jesus is saying that preaching and teaching the Word of truth in a mixed-up world like ours will call for sacrifice. It may mean living in primitive conditions, under difficult circumstances, and not feeling harassed, but privileged, to teach and to suffer for the sake of the Word of God. Peter found this to be true. He ultimately obeyed his Lord. He had said, "I will lay down my life for you," and Jesus replied, "You will indeed, not like you once thought, not in defense of me with a sword, but in the teaching and preaching of the Word. Eventually you will lay down your life for me."

  1. A committed Christian’s will is content with following.

 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."2Pe 1:14

Follow Me” This is a PRESENT ACTIVE IMPERATIVE as is v.22. This is related to the renewal and reaffirmation of Peter’s call to leadership

Our Lord’s words, “Follow Me!” must have brought new joy and love to Peter’s heart. Literally, Jesus said, “Keep on following Me.” Immediately, Peter began to follow Jesus, just as he had done before his great denial.

Peter later wrote that Christians who follow Jesus Christ faithfully to the point of dying for Him bring glory to God by their deaths

1Pe 4:14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

He lived with this prediction hanging over him for three decades

2Pe 1:14 knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

Notice that Jesus does much more than predict Peter’s death. John wishes us to understand that Jesus went so far as to predict the way in which Peter would die: “(Now Jesus said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God.)” (verse 19). Peter’s previous effort to resist the arrest of Jesus was contrary to the gospel, and this is why Jesus rebuked him and abruptly ordered him to stop resisting His arrest. The death which Peter will experience is a death that will glorify God. Jesus also indicates that Peter will die in his old age, and thus he is informed that his death is not imminent. But his death for the Savior’s sake is certain: Notice it says that his death would glorify God. How? Because anybody who dies for their faith in Jesus Christ is a glory to God.

I agree with those who see here a prophecy that Peter truly will follow Jesus, by dying on a Roman cross:

More important is the way stretch out your hands was understood in the ancient world: it widely referred to crucifixion (Haenchen, 2. 226-227). … Bauer (p. 232) proposed long ago that this ‘stretching’ took place when a condemned prisoner was tied to his cross-member and forced to carry his ‘cross’ to the place of execution. The cross-member would be placed on the prisoner’s neck and shoulders, his arms tied to it, and then he would be led away to death.

The words, “Follow Me,” constitute the first calling of the disciples (Matthew 4:19; Mark 1:17; John 1:43). As time passed, these words took on a much deeper meaning. Following Jesus meant putting Jesus above family (Matthew 8:22). It meant a whole new way of life, where former practices would be unacceptable (Matthew 9:9; Mark 2:14). Before long, Jesus let His disciples know that following Him meant taking up one’s cross (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34). (At this point in time, our Lord’s reference to “taking up one’s cross” was, at best, understood symbolically.) For the rich young ruler, it meant giving up his possessions (Matthew 19:21; Mark 20:21). And now, for Peter, it means not only carrying on the Master’s work, but taking up a very literal cross. It would seem that at every point where following Jesus is more precisely defined, another challenge to follow Him is given. So it is in our text.

I fear that Christians today understand these two words, “Follow me,” in a superficial way. When Paul writes, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21), we interpret his words in a somewhat self-indulgent fashion. We suppose that Paul means living as a Christian is glorious, trouble-free, and fulfilling. It is, to put it plainly, “the good life.” In other words, we get to live it up here, and then when we die, it gets even better. There is a certain sense in which this is true. But we must understand Paul’s words in the light of what Jesus is telling Peter here, in our text, about following Him.

To follow Christ is to walk in His steps, to live as He lived, to serve others as He did, and to lay down your life for the sheep, like Him. In Philippians chapter 1, Paul is therefore saying, “For me, to live is to live just as Christ did, taking up my cross daily, laying down my life for His sheep.”

"Obedience to Jesus' command, Follow Me, is the key issue in every Christian's life. As Jesus followed the Father's will, so His disciples should follow their Lord whether the path leads to a cross or to some other difficult experience."

Peter got the message. He was willing to lay down his life for the Savior.

Do you know what Jesus is saying to him here? "Peter, you're going to grow old, “because He says, "When you’re old, so you're going to have a full life, Peter. And when it comes to the end of your life, you're going to be crucified."

That means, to Peter, that when it comes down to the crux at that hour, he's going to confess Christ and die for Him, right? Now don't you think that's good news to Peter who last time he had a chance to die for Jesus blew it? And so He says, "Peter, I'm going to give you another chance, you're going to live a full life and then at the end you're going to hang in there, it's going to come down to a life/death issue and you're going to stand up and say I believe in Jesus boldly and you're going to die for it." Now I can imagine the thrills were shooting up Peter's back like crazy because he was going to get a chance to prove his love for Jesus.

Peter committed his life to Christ and Christ said, "Peter, you'll live for Me and you'll die nailed to a cross." That's the destiny that God had designed for Peter. That's a beautiful promise. O Peter I'm sure in his heart just was saying over and over again...if I only had another chance...if I only had another chance to show the Lord I could be faithful in a crucial situation...if I only had one more chance to show Him my love in a life/death thing, O I'd do it, I'd do it. And so the Lord says, "Peter, you'll do'll do it." And, you know, it's a good thing He told Peter cause Peter would have lived his whole life a nervous wreck thinking that every time he came to a real issue he'd blow it. And a leader with no confidence is no leader at all. And the Lord knew that Peter would worry himself about this so the Lord says, "Peter, you can relax through your whole ministry. When it comes to the end, you'll proclaim My name, you'll die a crucifixion death, don't worry about it."

  1. Following Jesus means being where He is. Jesus said in John 12:26 that, "If any man serve Me, let him follow Me that where I am, there will My servant be also." In other words, Jesus wants servants to go where He goes. That's the first thing about following. You go where He goes. Real simple. And in all the days of your life, in all the circumstances of your life, in all the places of your life, in all the relationships of your life, you should be able to say when asked, "Why are you here?" I'm here because I'm following Jesus and this is where He's led me today.
  2. Following Jesus means to pattern our lives after His attitudes. His holiness and His purity and His obedience to God becomes the pattern for us. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, "Be ye perfect even as I am perfect." We are to pattern our lives after Him. As He was faithful to the Father and obedient, so are we to be faithful and obedient..
  3. Thirdly, following Jesus means a willingness to suffer sacrifice for His sake. That's the nitty-gritty. Are you willing to do that? In Matthew 16 Jesus said, "If any man follow Me, take up his cross," right, "and follow Me." Now that's talking about the suffering sacrificial side of following Jesus.

But what does it mean to take up your cross, to bear your cross? in those days the victims of crucifixion bore the crossbeam of their own cross on their back as they marched to crucifixion. And in Matthew, as this was being spoken, the people in Galilee would well understand it because when the Roman General Varus had broken the revolt of Judas of Galilee, he crucified as a punishment two thousand Jews and he placed their crosses along all the roads leading through Galilee so that everywhere that everybody went they saw people hanging on crosses, two thousand of them. And all these people had borne the crossbeam on their back to their own death.

What Jesus is saying here is that means to be willing to sacrifice yourself for a cause. That's what it means. And Jesus is saying the same thing, are you willing to sacrifice everything you hold dear, everything you love, all the stupid little things that occupy your time, all your dreams and all your ambitions to be obedient to His cause? That's the real issue.

 Mark 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today. #HLMSocial*F


“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

The world is trying to solve earthly problems that can only be solved with heavenly solutions.


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