John 21:18-19New International Version (NIV)
18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Wow, what a statement. What a hard truth to swallow. Just after confessing his love for Christ and receiving his mission of feeding the sheep…this independent and vocal disciple hears from the mouth of Jesus that his life isn’t going to be the life he was used to. Things he did his own way will no longer be done the same. He no longer has a say in everything. He no longer calls the shots. There’s going to be some persecution. There are going to be battles. There’s a worldly end that may not be pleasant, but a heavenly beginning that will never end. Without this love for Christ, he couldn’t have accepted this mission. This is the same man who denied the one he loves 3 times…Yet, without his failures and repentance, and the gracious forgiveness of God, he wouldn’t have been as prepared for this high calling. But because of his deep love for Christ, he accepted and was extraordinarily used for the kingdom.
Jesus is asking you today… “Do you love me?” We are in times of great persecution and the attacks on the church are everywhere. From the courthouse, to the schoolhouse, to the home. Other religious groups are murdering believers, but as believers, we can hold fast to a great ending and beginning all rolled into one. It’s our faith in and love for Christ, along with the power of the Holy Spirit, that compels us to follow him. Will you follow him today?