John 21:18-19 “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” NKJV
The early Apostles were unique and distinct from us in one and only one way and that is they were able to see our Lord Jesus in His Humanity every day for 3 ½ years and feel and touch Him in His resurrected body. Actually witnessing the Man they walked with and talked with and ate with and lived with for those years be killed and then come back to life again surely gave them confidence and assurance that they too would be raised after the death of their bodies. Despite this truth these men still did not go about living in such a careless manner as to hasten the time of their deaths. They learned many things from His resurrection but they learned to trust completely that our Lord was the One who was Sovereignly in control over their lives no matter the danger seen or unseen by them. Our Lord had already begun to prepare them for what was awaiting them from the Jews after He went back to Heaven when He said to them, Matthew 10:16-17 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.” NKJV
They had been constantly warned by our Lord at various times during their 3 ½ years together of the brutality, bitter hatred, and cruelty they would encounter from many Jewish religious men that would be hard and hostile to their message of grace over their works system in place. Our Lord Jesus never once as recorded by the Apostle John and the other gospel writers promised any of the disciples a life of health, wealth, and earthly prosperity. Here we find the Apostle John recounting the time he, Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, his brother James, and two other disciples went fishing after our Lord’s death and stayed out all night catching nothing. Our Lord Jesus came to them while they were down by the sea for this the 3rd time since His resurrection from the dead. Now after they all had finished eating their fish breakfast our Lord Jesus restored or forgave Peter of his sin of denying Him those three times the night of His betrayal and arrest. All of the gospel writers document for us how our Lord often called Peter out from among the other 12 disciples to go with Him privately into places where our Lord did some of His greatest miracles (example raising the 12 year old girl to life). Our Lord Jesus changed his name from Simon to Cephas (which is translated A Stone) the moment his brother Andrew brought him to our Lord for the first time. It was apparent early on that our Lord wanted to spend extra time with Peter to teach him, strengthen him, and prepare him for the things he would encounter and endure all of those years being a faithful and outspoken bond slave of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now here is our Lord not far removed from His ascension back to the Father in Heaven seizing a final opportunity to prepare Peter for his own death by telling him exactly what will happen to him, but at the same time exhorting and encouraging him that unlike his fearful denial of Him on the night of His arrest, that Peter will courageously and triumphantly bring Glory to God by the way he dies and by the cause of his death which is his steadfast proclamation of the gospel with no holds barred. Peter would be immovable always abounding in the work of our Lord Jesus and it will cause him to be imprisoned and then crucified. The same man that coward in fear and cursed using profanity denying he even knew our Lord Jesus would be so courageous in accepting his death though it was not for doing any evil but for his love for our Lord Jesus Christ and His Glory here on the earth (Philippians 1:20). It is the number one priority for every disciple of our Lord to be zealous for His Glory to be manifested here on the earth no matter the evil or ungodly rule we live under. It is the will of God for us to bring Glory by our lives to our Lord, Master and Savior Jesus Christ even in death. People die every day here on the earth and the current statistics say that 1.78 deaths occur per second, 107 per minute, 6,390 per hour, or 153,000 people die every day around the world. I would say that 90% or more of those deaths do not bring Glory to God and probably the same number end up in hell forever separated from God.
Our Lord Jesus knew this man the Apostle Peter with all of his weaknesses, sin, and imperfections would remain steadfast and faithful to Him all the way to prison and crucifixion. He was not telling Peter these details to frighten him but instead to make him stronger by knowing that He (Jesus) knew the details of every day of his life and his physical death. Peter’s physical death only ushered him into the presence of his Lord forever to never again be broken and so he went to that cross (the tradition or church history reports) requesting to be crucified upside down seeing himself unworthy to die upright in the same manner as his Lord (2 Peter 1:14). The first Christian killed for the Glory of God was Stephen as documented by Dr. Luke in Acts Chapter 7. Since Stephen and the Apostle Peter each died for and to the Glory of God there have been many millions of men, women, boys, and girls who have died and are dying right now around the world for the Glory of God. Will your death or my death be to God’s Glory?
Revelation 6:9-11 When He opened the fifth seal; I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. NKJV
“At the place of execution, he again said a short prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued after a few seconds. In almost fifty years that I worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.” Prison doctor witness to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s death
“It is not only by acting, but chiefly by suffering, that the saints glorify God. Follow me - Showing hereby likewise what death he should die.” John Wesley
“Christ is the Son of God. He died to atone for men’s sin, and after three days rose again. This is the most important fact in the universe. I die believing in Christ.” Watchman Nee
“If life has not made you by God’s grace, through faith, holy--think you, will death without faith do it? The cold waters of that narrow stream are no purifying bath in which you may wash and be clean. No! no! as you go down into them, you will come up from them.” Alexander MacLaren
“If you live wrong you can’t die right.” Billy Sunday
“Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C. S. Lewis
“There is an essential difference between the decease of the godly and the death of the ungodly. Death comes to the ungodly man as a penal infliction, but to the righteous as a summons to his Father’s palace. To the sinner it is an execution, to the saint an undressing from his sins and infirmities. Death to the wicked is the King of terrors. Death to the saint is the end of terrors, the commencement of glory.” Charles Spurgeon
“You have been used to take notice of the sayings of dying men. This is mine: that a life spent in the service of God, and communion with Him, is the most comfortable and pleasant life that anyone can live in this world.” Matthew Henry
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…