20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.
(John 21:20-25 NIV)
In yesterday’s passage, Jesus encourages Peter to care for His flock of followers, even if it costs Peter his life. Jesus goes on to tell Peter that he would die via crucifixion, just as Jesus had died, and his death would glorify God. Jesus leaves Peter with two simple words: “Follow Me!”.
In today’s passage, Jesus and Peter are still having their conversation. Jesus and Peter are likely taking a walk up and down the beach as they talk. Peter possibly hears something and turns to see John trailing along behind them. Peter asks Jesus what will become of John. Jesus tells Peter not to worry about John and turns the conversation back to Peter: “You must follow Me.”
John clears up the rumor about what Jesus said about him. Jesus did not promise that John would not die; Jesus said that John’s fate was none of Peter’s concern. Historians say that Jesus did live to be about 100 years old, so he outlived all the other disciples.
John reminds us that this is his written testimony, and it is true. John’s Gospel is not a biography of Jesus’ life, but rather, John’s first-hand experiences with Jesus. John has recorded these events to show us that Jesus is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God come to give His life for us so that we might spend eternity with Him.
John concludes his Gospel on a somewhat wistful note, wishing that he could write more about Jesus. John writes that there is so much more that could be said about Jesus – so much, in fact, that the world could not hold the books that would tell His story.
As we conclude the Gospel of John, I pray that this has been a journey worthy of your time, to enter into deeper relationship with the Word made flesh, Who dwelt among humanity.
May John’s intent and desire be true in each of our lives:
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
(John 20:31 NIV)