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"Feed And Follow"

"Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.  I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.'  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then He said to him, 'Follow me'" (John 21:17-19).

The daily text is the final recorded personal exchange between Christ and Peter prior to His ascension to heaven.  I ponder how this revelation of truth might have affected Peter.  Here he is, gloriously restored after his ignominious denial.  He's ready to take on the world.  And after this encounter with Christ he is experiencing the glorious liberty of forgiveness and restoration.

But our Lord's final sobering words to Peter were in regard to the manner in which he would one day die, though he went on to live and faithfully minister for Christ another 30 years prior to being crucified upside down (as tradition asserts).

Consider how the knowledge of his future death might have emotionally crippled him.  He could have become a basket case.  As much as we often wish we knew the particulars about our future Jesus warns us that we can't handle such information. Trying to do so leads us to a state of worrying (panic); "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34).  But there is no hint in Peter's apostolic preaching recorded in Acts or in his two epistles of this information being a factor at all in the way he lived his life.

The purpose of this revelation to Peter was that he might know the way in which he would glorify God in his death.  That takes a lot of pondering for me.  Yet I consider people who have glorified God in their death.  I'm inspired each time I read of Stephen's bold proclamation of faith at the very time of his stoning.  It seems to me the right outlook is seeing death as merely God's appointed means of transition from this life to the next.  Surely this is a time when believers can indeed glorify God.

Today let us, like Peter, again hear the words Christ spoke; "Feed My sheep" and "Follow Me".  May we respond accordingly!

Be encouraged today.

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