Read John 21:1-25
Although the Bible doesn’t record his death, church tradition has it that Peter died by crucifixion around 67 a.d. And yet, deeming himself unworthy to die in the same manner that his Lord had died, Peter asked that his crucifixion be carried out with him hanging upside down.
This was the event to which Jesus had referred when he told Peter, “. . . when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” (18b) Now, that was something to look forward to!
Most of us yearn to know God’s will and to be able to have a glimpse into what He has for us in the future. Rest assured, not all of your future is what you might wish for yourself. Some of it will include things that you would avoid if you could.
There are a couple of downsides to knowing the negative aspects of what lies ahead. First of all, you might live a life of dreadful anxiety. As you wait for that unwanted moment or chain of events to unfold, you might waste the precious present in worry. You might overlook the beautiful waves of the ocean that are right there in front of you all because of the tempest that you know will one day arise. Don’t waste precious time in worry.
But Peter illustrates for us another danger of experiencing the negative aspects of the will of God. We are people prone to comparison. Words like “Lord, and what about this man?” flow easily from our lips. We don’t want to be “singled out” when it comes to suffering. But the truth is that the will of God is unique for each individual.
Downsides aside, here is an important take home for all of us. You may have read write over these words without capturing their power. Right after indicating the fact that Peter would be led to martyrdom, we read this brief parenthetical commentary, “Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God” (19a). His death was a means by which God was to be glorified.
Even the most undesirable of situations you may face in life offer to you an opportunity to bring glory to Him.
That’s a good reminder!