John 21:18-23 (You follow me!)


Intro: I have often wondered how the path that the Lord chooses for some is often so different than the path he chooses for others

A)With some people it seems like everything comes easy – comes to them on a silver platter.


B)Friends/ School / business/ ministry- they just seem so gifted { Everything flows{ Effortless


C) When we see that sort of thing happening – I think our natural response is to think – Man they are blessed by God.


But then you can take another believer and it is just the opposite.

A)Everything with them is struggle – nothing comes easy – Silver platters don’t exist for them


B) Health problems / Financial challenges / Heavy trials – seem to constantly line their path!

1) Which can leave us WRONGLY WONDERING – “what did they do wrong – what sin is in their life?”


C) I have wrestled with that contrast often in my mind – Lord why does it seem so easy for some and so hard for others


D) Maybe you have WRESTLED W/ the same thing about your own life or maybe someone you love.

I think of my daughter Amy – my 16 year old – Of my 3 kids she likes sports the most

A)But of my 3 kids she has the most physical challenges to contend with


B) For one she is an asthmatic - / she has a thyroid condition / she has Type 1 Diabetes

1) Which has nothing to do with her eating habits – that is Type 2


C)Type1 not in our family- no reason for her to have it

1) Constantly has to wear an insulin pump


D) Crooked feet – make it harder for her to run – slower and not as mobile as she could be

1) All of which makes it hard for her to do the thing that she loves to do the most – play sports


E) Often wondered – Lord Why her! – Why not someone else – Aaron doesn’t like sports

1) Wouldn’t even matter


When She was diagnosed with Diabetes 3 yrs ago –

A)She cried – I cried – told her don’t know why – but I know this God allowed this – He knows you can handle it – wants to use it to shape your Character


B)He wants to use it – to make you more useable – in life

1) Part of your Character and usefulness is going to be shaped by your suffering.

Well in our text today – We see where Jesus basically shares a similar thing with Peter.

A)Set the scene { Ch. 21 is after the Rez and before the disciples go to Jerusalem to wait for the HS


B) Peter and some others head to Galilee for a little fishing excursion

1) Debate –Was Peter wrong – answer on Wed. nite


C) They are fishing { Jesus shows up

1) Brings some fish and makes some Breakfast


D) Interesting to me – that what they were looking for Jesus already had – fish – Provision


After Jesus gives them some fishing instructions the nets fill they recognize it is the Lord { Peter dives in

A)Jesus – issues a Challenge to Peter – Love me more than these –  Asked 3 times


B) 3 Denials –

1) 3 commissions – Feeds lambs / tend Sheep / feed Sheep { Look at more on Wed


C) But after that exchange – Jesus challenges Peter to follow Him and reveals – His yrs of service would be filled w/ difficulty – RD V.18-23





Now In V.18-19 Jesus describes the Kind of death that Peter is going to die

A)The Phrase – in your old age they will stretch out your hands –is significant{ Peter died by Crucifixion


B)It is interesting to note the way that Jesus describes Peter - when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished;


C) There is a certain resilience with the Youth –

1) I like the Youth – because they are not afraid to dream


D) They haven’t experienced enough disappoints to be doubt yet –

1)They still believe that God can do anything –


E) Oh they can sometimes be very idealistic about things in their idealism -  not always realistic

1)But still they are able to dream to envision –


F) I find that GO FOR IT – attitude refreshing:

1) Sometimes it is foolish – but I loved being surprised when something – I may have thought was crazy comes to fruition – Youthful vigor / passion



Peter in his youth was impulsive man { First to speak / only one to act walk on water  here dives out of boat

A)We might call him crazy – but hopefully there is a part of him that stirs in all our hearts

B) Faith to say: Lord I will jump out – venture out

1) I am going to go for it – Wrong –well – I tried


C) JC – Attempt something so big …. To fail !


That was Peter I think Jesus liked that about his friend – wanted to harness that

A)That would be a part of the strength of Peter’s ministry – go for it kind of Guy.


B) First to preach at Pentecost – First to heal

1) First to take the gospel to the Gentiles


C) We who are older must be careful not to quench the zeal and faith of the Peter’s in our midst.


But Jesus tells Peter there is a day coming when that is going to Change – led where you don’t want to go

A)Crucify you Peter – they are going to Stretch out your hands like they did  mine


B) The thing that I think is funny about that – is even in the end – Peter gets his way

1) He asked to be Crucified upside down because He didn’t think he was worthy to be crucified like his Lord


C) Peter preached for 37 years, & was 70 years old when he died a martyr’s death for his Lord!


Eusebius (early church father) lets us know while Peter was in Rome he was sentenced by the emperor Nero to be crucified.

D)It’s also said (history) about his beloved wife, being led out to be put to death, on account of having confessed the faith, he addressed her in these words,

“O my beloved wife! Hear the lord Jesus always before thine eyes; this is the marriage of the saints.”


E)So Jesus is telling Peter – the Lot that has been appointed for you is a difficult one.


This brings us back to the beginning of our Study – The path that God chooses for some is different

A)Like Peter – maybe your path has been one of suffering –


B))Sometimes when it comes to our difficulties and trials – there is no reason – for it

1) Seems random – Person gets cancer – age old question why do bad things happen to good pp


C) Sometimes our difficulties are the result of someone else’s sin

1) Family devasted when a spouse – commits adultery and bails –


D) Probably easier if they would have died than to just leave.

1)) Everyone is wrestling with Why? How? – I thought they loved us and loved the Lord


E) Sometimes Physical ailments God heals sometimes he doesn’t  How many healed ?

A)But in all those situations the suffering is meant to build our Character and make us more useful.


James 1:2-4

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials , 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.


B)Peter’s suffering His failure would become a part of his usefulness - 

1) He would write a letter to the Church during a time when it was going thru – Ht of Persecution / suffering


1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials , 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love.  Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.


C) His suffering and struggles gave him keen insight to write those words


D) When you find yourself in that type of situation remember that -

1) God isn’t going to give us more than we can handle


E)Paul His grace is sufficient { His Power …perfect in our weakness – { that is what He wants to reveal.

Now Peter’s first reaction  to these words isn’t such a positive on.  His immediate response is to look at John – ask what about him.

A)That can so often be the natural response when something is going wrong for you – Right for someone else


B) How come they have got it so good – why is it so easy for them.


C) God convicts you of something that needs to Change in your life

1)But it seems to be a liberty that someone else enjoys

We want to say – what about them Lord


D) That is the natural response: Remind you that we are not called to be natural men

1) That comes easy – But Jesus calls us to be spiritual



Well here is how Jesus responds to Peter – Don’t worry about John you follow me!

A)If I want him to live until I come back – that is not your concern – You Peter follow me in the path I have laid out for you.


B) The Path that God Choose for John was different


C) Peter was called casting his nets – great evangelist

1) John was called while mending nets – he was a mender – Epistle of Love 

D) Peter preached for 37 yrs -  died at 70


E)John lived on to a ripe old age living in Ephesus.

1) Ministry covered probably 60 plus years


 It was Peter’s function to Shepherd the Sheep of Christ, & in the end to Die for Him!

A) It was John’s function to Witness to the Story of Christ, & to Live to a great old age!


B)This didn’t make them rivals & it didn’t make one greater, or less.

1) It made them both servants of Christ!

Serve where you are set!


C) Don’t worry about another’s task, your job is to “Follow Him!”

1) Lord they are getting married I am still single

2) Lord they got a great job I am still waiting

3) Lord they just got asked to be involved in that ministry and I was overlooked again.

4) Lord they got healed and I am still sick -


D) When we are wrestling with those type of QUESTIONS: it really boils down to this:

1) Do I really believe that God loves me

Do I really believe that He is sovereign?


E) Listen it doesn’t have to make sense to me


Isaiah 55:8-9

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.

9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways,

And My thoughts than your thoughts.


Now for some of you – it is this very thing that keeps you from living a life of Surrender

A)Don’t believe He loves you – don’t want to trust His Sovereignty –


B) Follow from afar –


C) What if Peter said – No way! Not going that route

1) No Peter at Pentecost –

2) No healing Acts 4

3) No Epistle of 1, 2 Peter


D) Stop resisting – stop saying – not fair



Don’t Know Jesus – He has a plan for you –

Loved you to die –


Trust Him today