John 21: 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
This is the closing of the gospel of John. He doesn’t close with the ascension as the others did. He wrote this later on, maybe even after Peter and Paul had been killed. John was the last of the 12 to die. He still kept trusting God not matter what. It is said that they put him in hot oil to shut him up but he survived. They then exiled him to the island of Patmos thinking it would stop him, but this is where Jesus gave him the book of Revelation. The devil will try to hush us but keep following the Lord. Don’t give up. The Lord is faithful to his children. God has the big picture for each of us.
Here it is three weeks after the resurrection. It was coming upon the Lord’s Day. Jesus had told them to wait for him at the Sea of Galilee. While waiting, Peter talked the others into going fishing. When Jesus showed up they were on the sea not at it. John saw someone on the shore and recognized Jesus. Peter threw on his coat and jumped into the water to get to shore. Jesus had fish ready for breakfast when they got there. Stick with him and he will provide. Follow his will; the Lord won’t let us down.
When the Lord said follow me, he meant it. In every circumstance—not just the good times—we are to follow him. We may think we can’t go on but keep praying and staying focused on God’s will. He’ll provide and see us through. The disciples didn’t need to fish. Jesus provided. God provides for us too. Even if the future seems bleak, he is Lord of the past, present and future. David said he had never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread. We follow and the Lord will do the rest. Don’t question him.
As the disciples ate, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Peter said that he did and Jesus said feed my sheep. He then asked Peter the same question two more times. Jesus told Peter that now he was agile and in good physical condition but the time would come when someone would have to dress him and get him around from place to place. These are facts of life. We all used to do a lot of things we can’t do now. When we were young we could climb a tree faster than a monkey. Now if we played a game of touch football some of us might end up in the ER. Just yesterday we ran and played. One thing we can still do is follow Jesus.
Thinking about the prospects to come is scary. We don’t want to get in the shape that we can’t dress ourselves or go where we want on our own. We have church people in that state now. We never know what the future might hold. Things can change quickly. We don’t have a promise for what the future holds but following Jesus is something we can do even if we can’t walk, if we can’t dress ourselves. We can still pray even if we can’t get out of bed. There is hope for the child of God. One day we’ll run down the street of gold. Focus on following Jesus and everything will work out.
It is said in church history that while Peter was in prison he did get down and people had to care for him. God provided. He’ll provide what we need. He’ll send someone to us. When we need taken care of, it will happen.
Peter had a habit of picking on John. He asked Jesus what John was going to do. Jesus told him if he willed it John could live until he came back. What was it to him? We may look at others and think they are doing well when they’re not. Don’t envy someone else. Don’t put focus there. Focus on what you should do yourself. Concentrate on following Jesus yourself. Peter learned his lesson. He wrote in his epistles that he was leaving his tabernacle and they should carry on. The thrust of his books was to keep following Jesus.
When he was talking to Jesus he forgot for a moment that if he had focused on Jesus he would have kept walking on the water. Not too many days later the Holy Spirit came and who was the one preaching that day? Peter! And 3,000 people were saved. Later he and John took a lame man by the hand and he walked—leaped and praised God. When Peter’s body gave out, his faith kept going on. I want to shake Peter’s hand one day.
John lived the longest, about 40 years longer than Peter. Was he more blessed getting to live longer? It was just God’s will. No doubt many questioned when James was killed so early in the church days. Whatever God’s will was for him was fulfilled and he went on home to be with the Lord. Whatever the future may seem—good or bad—our future is in God’s hand. He will take care of us. Where he leads just follow.