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©Clay Eldridge

Chapter 21:20-25 (ESV)

Posted on October 04, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 21:20-25 (ESV) - Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

Question to consider: What did Peter mean by his question, “Lord, what about this man?”

Commentators seem to treat Jesus’ words “follow me” as a challenge to Peter to continue to follow His teachings as a disciple, but John wrote that the context of it was in showing Peter what kind of death he was going to glorify God. I’d imagine when Jesus said, “you will stretch out your hands,” He made a motion of them being stretched out on a cross. 

Once Jesus told him he was to follow Him in the same manner, Peter looked back at the one following behind them and asked, “Lord, what about this man?” From that question, we could either gather that Peter was asking Jesus why he had to die this way and not the one following them, or that Peter was asking whether he was the only one who would have to endure this terrible fate.

You may have noticed that I have wrestled a bit with whether John had an amanuensis who wrote down his dictated gospel account and that the mentions of a “disciple” could have been his own interjections into the narrative as a way of testifying to the accuracy of John’s words. Those who theorize that Lazarus was this guy pin it on this text. The argument is that Lazarus had already died once so there was a question about whether he would die again. I’m not entirely opposed to the idea, but if the “disciple whom Jesus loved” was the same all through this account, it would seem weird to me that Lazarus would be on the fishing boat with Peter when John was one of his regular partners.

The only instance I can really see being an insertion by an amanuensis would be the one where “another disciple” got Peter into the courtyard during Jesus’ trial. In that case, having it be one of the secret disciples on the Sanhedrin makes more sense than pondering a whole storyline of Zebedee becoming the fish supplier to the priests from the miraculous catch of fish at the beginning of Luke’s gospel.

With that said, I believe it was John who testified at the end of this book. Those today who profess to be doing greater miracles than Jesus and the apostles should be put to shame by John’s testimony. The size and scope of the miracles done during the generation of the apostles has been unmatched in history. There are days described in the different gospel accounts in which thousands of people showed up with the sole purpose of being healed from their infirmities and demons. All who asked for Christ’s mercy received it. We may not see this kind of healing until we go to be with Christ, but this statement still rings true today: all who ask for Christ’s mercy receive it.


Dear Lord, help us to be merciful as You are merciful. Please give us the grace and peace necessary to face the slings and arrows of a world that is in opposition to You. We love You and long for Your return. Amen.