Key Verse: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
John 21:18-23; Revelation 4:1-11
FOLLOWING THE COMMISSION given to “Feed my lambs, … feed my sheep,” the risen Lord invited Peter to follow him in a life of sacrifice. “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 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, New International Version
Peter then asked the Lord about John. “What shall this man do?” Peter asked. “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” (vss. 21-23) We believe these words refer to the fact that before John died, Jesus would appear to him in vision for the purpose of recording, by use of many symbols, certain future events relative to God’s plan. In the Book of Revelation we have the vision given to John of these things, and which are the last recorded words of the Holy Scriptures.
The invitation of our title, “Follow me,” holds special importance to those whose hopes and desires are to become part of the bride of Christ. We are therefore deeply interested in the words of John’s vision. Although he did not understand many of the things which he saw, through the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the members of the body of the Christ have been granted understanding to discern spiritual things. (I Cor. 2:14) We are assured of this when John refers to the Holy Spirit as the “seven spirits of God,” showing its all-encompassing work. (Rev. 1:4; 4:5; 5:6) It follows that God’s Holy Spirit would be made manifest through the trumpet voice of the risen Lord, the one chosen to unfold the plan of God in vision to John. (Rev. 1:10; 4:1) Indeed, Jesus was worthy to bring God’s plan to fulfillment through his sacrificial death on the cross as man’s Redeemer.—Rev. 5:5-9
Paul also was shown “visions and revelations” of things to come, most notably being “caught up to the third heaven.” (II Cor. 12:1,2) In Revelation, chapters 21 and 22, John recorded with descriptive words the vision given to him of the conditions which would be in place when the third heaven is established. The Apostle Peter, likewise, noted these things, foretelling the time when not only a new heaven would be established, but also a new earth. (II Pet. 3:13) It is well to note that the progression of these so-called “heavens” and “earth” is according to God’s times and seasons. The first of these was before the flood. The second is the present evil world, in which mankind now dwells. Both of these heavens and earth are under Satan’s rule. The third, however, will be under the rule of Christ and his faithful saints.
We have received the most wonderful invitation ever granted, to walk after the pattern of Christ Jesus. It is through God’s great love that this arrangement has been made possible. (Eph. 1:3-12) Thus, with joy we join the faithful Apostles in giving praise to our loving Heavenly Father, and in following the Master’s footsteps.