Summary: This message deals with what total commitment really involves.
And finally we come to the final passage of John’s gospel. This last passage in John is a call to total commitment. There are 4 things we are going to cover tonight as we look at total commitment.
1. Total commitment demands following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
2. It demands the cross—death to self.
3. It demands undivided attention to one’s own task.
4. It demands bearing witness to Jesus Christ.
READ 18. Jesus tells Peter in this verse that when he is old, another, someone else, will come and lead him where he doesn’t want to go. Who is meant here when it says another, or someone else? In this context it could actually mean two things. It could be speaking of those who were to carry Peter to death, the Romans; or suffering and martyrdom for the cause of Christ.
Jesus seemed to be referring to the whole of Peter’s life, ranging from his earlier years when he did what he wished over to his older years when he would be doing what God wished. Because of this, it seems vest to interpret “another” or “someone else” as the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was challenging Peter to serve him, to feed my sheep. He was calling Peter to total commitment and total commitment requires following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
When Peter was young he ran his life as he willed. He did what he wanted, went where he wished, talked as he willed, chose the pleasures he desired, and chose the profession he wanted. When he was younger, before he ever came to know Christ, Peter was able to do as he liked. But no more. Peter could no longer live as he wished. Jesus was now going to control his life.
When Peter was old and mature, the Holy Spirit would dress him and carry him places he wouldn’t choose or want to go. This is referring to the suffering and martyrdom Peter was to undergo for the sake of Christ.
Since Peter was accepting the call of Christ to feed His sheep, Peter would have to live his life as the Spirit, do what the Spirit wanted, choose the profession the Spirit willed and go where the Spirit wished.
When I got out of high school my plan was to attend college, get my pre-dental degree and go on to Dental school and become a dentist. In my Jr. year at Texas Tech, God chose differently. God chose my profession.
Jesus was saying that Peter was to be led where he didn’t want to go. He was to live a life of suffering. He was to die the death of a martyr. His death was to be for the cause of Christ and the glory of God.
Remember, Peter had a wife. At the time of this event, Peter was to live some 40 years or more, so he was probably a newlywed. Tradition says that Peter’s wife served with him in the ministry for many years.
There is strong evidence that Peter was crucified in Rom. Tradition says that he felt so unworthy to die in the same manner as His Lord that he begged to crucified upside down.
The call of Christ is to total commitment, not just to commitment. Total commitment demands that we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. We can no longer dress and walk as we will. We are to dress and walk as the Holy Spirit wills.
The call of Christ involves persecution. The true believer lives a sacrificial and godly life, bearing a strong testimony and a strong witness. That type of life is usually rejected by most in the world. The world persecutes the person who lives godly; it persecutes that person at work, at play, at home—wherever and whenever it pleases.
Christ is calling Peter to such a life, telling him that the Holy Spirit would carry him to places he would not choose. And Jesus tells us the same thing. Total commitment requires following the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and all who follow the Holy Spirit will suffer persecution.
Every one of us will die. How we die should concern us; whether we die in self; having lived in comfort, ease, plenty, pleasure, wealth, extravagance, pride and unbelief, OR
We die for Christ; having lived a godly life, bearing testimony, witnessing, helping, giving, ministering and meeting the desperate needs of a world in sin.
READ 19. To quickly summarize this verse would be to say that total commitment requires the cross, death to self. You must follow Christ.
READ 20-23. Total commitment requires undivided attention to one’s own task. Peter asked Jesus what John would be doing in his ministry. Peter and john were very close. John was younger than Peter, probably a teenage. Apparently, Peter had taken a very close liking to John and had taken him into his care even before Christ had come along. So it was natural for Peter to ask what John’s task and future was.