Day 33

Jesus’s Final Invitation

from the John reading plan

John 21:1-25, Hebrews 2:17-18, 1 Peter 5:1-4

BY Tameshia Williams

The Gospel of John reveals some of Peter’s greatest missteps and moments of weakness, from a failed water-walking attempt to cutting off a man’s ear. His darkest moment came when he denied being Jesus’s disciple. But for all of his fumbles and failures, Jesus never rejected Peter, even after Peter’s vehement rebuttal. It’s clear in John 21 that the relationship between Master and disciple is restored.

It’s an early morning of breakfast and conversation, seaside. Three times Jesus questions Peter’s love for Him, echoing Peter’s trilogy of denials in the previous chapter. Jesus’s responses involve calling Peter to care for His sheep, for His Church. It’s a redemptive moment for us, as we see that Peter has been forgiven and included in Jesus’s plans for His kingdom.

Jesus also reveals a hard truth: Peter’s future martyrdom. We shouldn’t see this as a punishment for earlier mistakes, since Jesus doesn’t give any indication of this. Neither does He elaborate on the details or even the time frame regarding the end of Peter’s life. Instead, He issues both an invitation and a command. 

“Follow me.” —John 21:19

Jesus places how Peter will die in the context of how he should live. “Follow me.” This two-word sentence is the driving theme of Jesus’s directives to Peter. When we reflect on the conversation in whole, we are reminded of what it means to say yes to Him. The call to follow Jesus is a commitment to discipleship, a commitment to live out the gospel in a world that is opposed to the message of hope. 

“Follow me.” Jesus’s instruction to Peter isn’t just a one-time action. In the original Greek reading, the phrase carries the meaning of repeated action. Each day that we live is an opportunity to embrace the invitation to follow Jesus, to love Him deeply, and to serve Him wholeheartedly.  

Perhaps when reading John 21, the revelation of Peter’s death alarms us, maybe even disturbs us. Jesus refuses to shield us from the truth. As His disciples, we will encounter hard seasons and challenging times, often. But whatever interval of life we go through, we submit to His will. Jesus knows from experience what opposition, what pain, what grief feels like. And “as our merciful and faithful high priest” (Hebrews 2:17), He is with us, infusing us with the strength to endure all that we face. 

Other Scriptures, including Peter’s writings, reveal to us that Peter remained faithful to Jesus’s call to “shepherd my sheep” (John 21:16). Echoing Jesus’s words, Peter encouraged other leaders to “shepherd God’s flock” (1Peter 5:2), overseeing God’s people with care and compassion. 

We may not all hold a formal leadership title. But as members of God’s flock, He has commissioned each of us to follow Him, to carry out whatever He has entrusted to us. And Peter promises that when our chief Shepherd returns for us, He will reward our faithfulness (1Peter 5:4). 

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "Jesus’s Final Invitation"

  1. Jules D says:

    When Jesus asks Peter three times, “Do you love me,” each one gives Peter the chance to symbolically erase one of his earlier denials. And each time Peter affirms his love, Jesus invites Peter to be with Him, follow Him, serve Him. The gentleness of this “rebuke” and redirection is such an indicator of how Jesus sees our mistakes, big and small. No child, not that way—do you love Me? Then come, follow Me.

  2. Susan Clifton says:

    Beautiful, heart wrenching study. Lord, thank you always for your insights, (new and old), daily as we follow you. Bless all.

  3. Colleen Politanski says:

    Love this read

  4. Joy Stark says:

    I love that the passage from 1 Peter is included in todays reading. I have read these passages separately but I never made the connection before that Peter is passing on the instructions given to him by Jesus at the fire. Something about that strikes me as so sweet and significant this morning. Thanks for curating a great study book, SRT!

  5. Joy Stark says:

    I love that the passage fro Peter

  6. Tara Workman says:

    Just watched the video! You are right, it’s wonderful and goes along with what we are reading! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Susie H says:

    Verse 19: (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) I have never thought about how my death might glorify God. I have always been amazed at the great opportunity that a Christian funeral has to share the gospel with those who would otherwise never set foot in a church. But other than that I haven’t contemplated this idea. We shy away from death. Abhor it. And yet it is the gateway to everything we have ever wanted. Sorry if this is too dark but it is what stood out today. It’s been a great study.

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