John 21:18-25 :
“Most certainly I tell you, when you were young, you dressed yourself, and walked where you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you, and carry you where you don’t want to go.”
Now he said this, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. When he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
Then Peter, turning around, saw a disciple following. This was the disciple whom Jesus sincerely loved, the one who had also leaned on Jesus’ breast at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is going to betray You?” Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”
Jesus said to him, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” This saying therefore went out among the brothers, that this disciple wouldn’t die. Yet Jesus didn’t say to him that he wouldn’t die, but, “If I desire that he stay until I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies about these things, and wrote these things. We know that his witness is true. There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn’t have room for the books that would be written.
Well, we’ve arrived at the end of the book of John. Jesus spells out Peter’s future. This is a realistic event that demonstrates the historical nature of John’s record. Peter is told by Jesus that He is to die someday for being a Christian. That is what happened according to the history that has been handed down outside of the Bible. Peter became a very strong man in Jesus and faced severe persecution, even in His death. At this point, however, he was uncomfortable being singled out as one who would have to go through hard times.
Peter asked if John was going to have it bad too. Now, John was to have it very bad, according to what we read of history. We are told that John may have even been boiled in oil and survived. John, however, wasn’t killed for his faith even though he was tortured for it.
John explains that because of Jesus’ response, rumors were passed around that John would stay alive until Jesus returns. John makes it clear that Jesus didn’t say that. Rumors like these are still created based on God’s word. We need to pay careful attention to all of God’s words and not take them out of context.
Jesus, wanted Peter and John to focus on their own walk with Him. That is how it is with all of us. Jesus calls us individually to follow Him no matter what the future holds. We know from the great strength that these men had that God will also give us great strength as we face the future and accept what God has for us to do.