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John 21:20-25

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. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? 24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. 25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.


Having been told by Jesus how he would die, Peter turned and saw John following them. Peter and John were very close and Peter wanted to know about John's future. "What about this man?"

It is typical of men to be more concerned with the affairs of others than with their own. Perhaps it is because they need to have something by which to compare themselves. If they can find fault in another, they feel better about and even forget their own faults. If they see another person failing in his duties to Christ, they can cover up their own shortcomings by pointing to him. This tendency to focus on the affairs of others is the substance of gossip and backbiting.

Jesus would not allow Peter to focus on what John would do with his life. Peter was not called to be John's guardian or publicist. God had individual plans for each of them, because they were uniquely created, and each was special in his own way. This is true of everyone. God has a unique plan for our lives and, if we spend all of our time concentrating on what others are doing, we will neglect to do the things that He has called us to do.

"If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me." Indeed, what difference does it make to the follower of Jesus what another person's life should be like. Your life will not change, the things that you will suffer for Jesus' sake will not change, the blessings that God will shower upon you will not change, and your eternal security cannot be taken away from you. "Follow me!"

In order to make His question more emphatic, Jesus used the Greek third class condition. In other words, "If I will that he tarry till I come..." grammatically indicated a high probability of being fulfilled. Yet, it was only a hypothetical question. What effect would it have on Peter's future, if Jesus allowed John to live until His second coming? The question demands that we answer, "None whatsoever!"

However, when we are more focused on the affairs of others than on ourselves, we will miss much of what we see and hear in life. From this simple question posed by Jesus to one disciple, false rumors began to spread, saying that John would never die. These rumors were fed by the fact that John lived to be quite old and was the only one of the disciples who did not suffer a violent death.

As he finished this gospel, he wanted to dispel this rumor. It was important to John that only the truth about Jesus should be known and that no false statements should be attributed to Him. But he also wanted the world to know that Jesus had done so many marvelous things that no single man could ever have done justice to his story. The world was not large enough to contain all of the books that could be written about His ministry.

I hope you have enjoyed our study on the Gospel of John. It has deeply affected me and my ministry, as I have tried to apply the teachings of Jesus to my life. I hope that you have also been doing more than simply learning the facts and that this study has brought you closer to your Savior than you were when you started.

Before The Throne:

Confess to God the many times that you were more focused on someone else than on yourself. Confess those moments of envy or jealousy, those times when you engaged in gossip, and the times when you used someone else's sins to make your own seem alright. Praise Him for creating you as a unique individual with a unique role in His plan for mankind. Thank Him for allowing you into his kingdom to be a part of that plan. Pray that He will help you to focus on the ministry to which He has called you, and that you will do it well.

For Further Study:

(v.20)
** seeth. John 20:2; ** which. John 13:23-26; 20:2;

(v.21) ** Lord. Mt 24:3,4; Luk 13:23,24; Act 1:6,7;

(v.22) ** If. Mt 16:27,28; 24:3,27,44; 25:31; Mr 9:1; 1Cor 4:5; 11:26; Rev 1:7; 2:25; 3:11; 22:7,20;

(v.23) ** what. Deut 29:29; Job 28:28; 33:13; Dan 4:35;

(v.24) ** we know. John 19:35; 1John 1:1,2; 5:6; 3John 1:12;

(v.25) ** there. John 20:30,31; Job 26:14; Psa 40:5; 71:15; Eccl 12:12; Mt 11:5; Act 10:38; 20:35; Heb 11:32;

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