Read John 21:20-25
20Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, "Lord, who is going to betray you?") 21When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?"
22Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me." 23Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?"
24This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.
25Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. (NIV)
In these final words of John, he reveals himself as the beloved disciple. But he does not put himself above the other disciples. John was the only disciple to live to old age. All the other disciples were martyred. In this final section, John has laid out that Peter is the shepherd of Christ. And in a way, he then lays out that he is the witness of Christ. A writer noted and Paul was the pioneer of Christ. There is no hierarchy here, but simply a recognition that we are called to serve where Christ calls us to serve.
This is seen in the question by Peter, “what about him?” Jesus answer is basically, I have a purpose for him and I want you to follow me with the purpose I have called you to. We can get hung up on other’s calling. But each of us has a purpose given to us by Christ. We flourish in that purpose, not other purposes.
John was left to live an old age so that he could be that one who could say, “I was there.” “I saw these things happen.” John was able to become a bridge to the second and even third generation Christians. Just as the 11 disciples died for what they believed, John lived to tell what he saw. The two make a very powerful collective witness to the truth of Christ. The eleven who died because they would not renounce Christ. And John who could confirm what he saw and knew was truth.
John finishes he Gospel with the statement that we only know a fragment of what Christ has done and who Christ is. But it is enough to say yes to Christ and to then grow into that saving relationship as we walk with Christ. The Gospel and letters in the New Testament are a beginning of our understanding, not an end. It is the Holy Spirit who will continue to help us learn and grow in faith.
I pray that this had been a good exercise to reflect on John ‘s Gospel for 10 months. I hope you grew in your knowledge and love of Christ.
Blessings and Peace.