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If he is to wait till I come, what is that to you ?
You follow Me.

John 21:21

After the resurrection, this now applied to Himself, and not just to another, the pinnacle of tests for authenticity for anyone - the last one being Lazarus, a staggering event since it occurred several days after his death, and following his entombment, Jesus met His disciples when they were out fishing.

All night they had caught nothing, but to the familiar sea they went, Galilee being the area where both Jesus (before His crucifixion) and the angel (after it) told them to go. In the morning, they saw a figure on the beach. Caught anything ? NO! Fish on the other side, then, came the shore advice. They did. It was later found that in doing what they were told, they caught at once 153 large fish, and were astonished that the net did not break.

Peter being used to the ways of the Lord, especially relative to such episodes, at once realised the collection of data meant only one thing, and putting on his outer garment, not far from the land, plunged into the waters and went ashore. Although he had already talked with Christ following the resurrection (I Corinthians 15), yet the circumstances when  Christ had been taken into custody, when Peter had been told not to fight to protect Him, and that disciple, harassed and confused had denied Christ three times outright, were delicate. It had been a massive fall from a robust disciple.

He was ineffably drawn to  go and seize the opportunity to talk with Jesus Christ further, to see Him, to behold the miracle in this new setting.

In a wonderful mingling of the normal and the extraordinary, the natural and the result of the most prodigious miracle in history, resurrection of the Lord following betrayal (by Judas) in terms of His own prior word that this would happen, and that in terms of the prophecies aplenty, going hundreds of years before, even around one millenium before, and beyond that, and those in detail, Christ then as resurrected had a fire going. He naturally asked for fish from the recent catch.

They gave it to Him and He cooked and  supplied it with bread. That is the staggering kind of preparation and foreknowledge that Christ frequently displayed, as in the case of the tax money being predicted to be found in a fish, which Peter had neem sent to take from the sea on a former occasion, and that in terms of the principle of the Son of God not paying tax in His own temple, on the one hand, and yet keeping the law as man, on the other. That account is found in Matthew 17:24ff.

Then there were great happenings after breakfast.

Three times Peter had denied Christ - he did not know the man, quoth he - after the arrest, when queried in official quarters. In parallel, three times Christ asked him, Do you love Me ? The first two Christ with the term for religious veneration, and Peter replied with the term for friendly affection. The third time, Christ asked in the friendly affection term, and Peter replied in it. Then feed My lambs, came the first reply, tend My sheep, came the second response from Jesus Christ, feed My sheep came His third command.

The threefold failure had led to the threefold query in a delicate but deeply penetrating enactment. Now that the dedication of the disciple had been thoroughly researched in terms of testimony, we find John again, in the most natural way, for the disciples tended to be very frank, feeling uncircumscribed in the midst of the robust fearlessness of Christ, His reliability and His reassuring depth, following behind Christ and Peter.

Turning, Peter now asks, What about this man then ? Now Peter had just been told that when he was young, he used to go where he would, but when he is older, he will be compelled to go, even carried where he assuredly did not wish to go. This referred to his coming martyr's death, in which his courage would be as conspicuous as was his earlier once only, failure.

Jesus replied to Peter: What is it to you if this man remains till I come: YOU follow Me.

What did that mean ? In John's Gospel, it is made clear that it did NOT mean that the disciple, the apostle John would not die. What then did it mean ?

In the context, it is a contrast to early, constrained, violent death, for Peter. That death in context again, was to CARRY him away, It would be a rupture of the normal, an aggressive termination of his time on this earth. By contrast, in terms of the different gifts and works of each individual disciple, it would be different with John. Thus there was still John 's Gospel and Revelation and I, II, III John for him to be authorised to write, and an  enduring testimony, a continuity of impact to come came with him.

What then is the meaning ? It is simple. For John, there would NOT be an invasive, violent force to kill him. Peter would be taken away. With John, this was not so. He would remain where the other had been, in  this world, from which Peter would be evacuated in death. How long would he remain ? "until I come," Christ revealed. What is the contrast to going by assault ? Staying till a normal death has time to occur. You stay on.

John did, for a long time indeed, enduring restraint as exiled on Patmos for a time, but delivered from this, and continuing to very ripe old age.