"Very truly I tell you, 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 else 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 21:18-19
While Scripture does not record the actual death of Peter, here we see Jesus predicting that He would suffer and die.
The occasion for this statement is Jesus' gracious calling of Peter back into discipleship following his humiliating denial of Jesus. When Jesus called Peter, James and John the first time, it was by the Sea of Galilee. Now they stood on the shore of that same sea as Jesus calls him back into action.
With the call, Jesus clarifies the cost of the call, "but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”
Historians record that Peter did die with his hands stretched out on a cross. But because he felt unworthy to die as his Master had died, Peter requested to be crucified upside down. On October 13, 64 AD, Jesus prophecy of Peter was fulfilled as the Romans crucified him upside down. According to the record, it took him three days to die because crucifixion killed its victims through asphyxiation and that didn't happen when he was upside down. The Romans finally beheaded him on the cross say historical accounts.
I share this to make the point that something happened in Peter's heart between the time he denied Jesus three times and the time he gladly gave his life as a martyr.
What brought on such a dramatic change that fulfilled another prophecy of Jesus, "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."?
What happened in the heart of Peter that transformed him from one who denied Jesus to one who died for Jesus?
That is what we will explore over the next few posts.
But for today, let me ask you this. What is going on in your heart?
Will you die to Jesus today? Will you crown Him Lord in your life and deny yourself?
As Peter discovered, if you don't die to yourself you will eventually deny Jesus.