John 21:19

19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God.[a] After saying this, He told him, "Follow Me!" [b]

John 21:19 Meaning and Commentary

John 21:19

This spake he
These are the words of the evangelist, explaining the meaning of Christ in like manner, as in ( John 12:33 )

signifying by what death he should glorify God;
for by the above words Christ not only intimated that Peter should die, not a natural, but a violent death, or that he should die a martyr in his cause, but the very kind of death he should die, namely, by crucifixion; and that Peter was crucified at Rome, ecclesiastical history confirms F6, when Christ was magnified, and God was glorified by his zeal and courage, faith and patience, constancy and perseverance to the end:

and when he had spoken this:
concerning the usage and treatment he should meet with, the sufferings he should undergo, and death he should die for his sake, for the present trial of him:

he saith unto him, follow me:
which may be understood literally, Jesus now rising up, and ordering him to come after him; and yet as a sign of his following him, in a spiritual sense, exercising every grace upon him, discharging every duty towards him, faithfully and constantly performing his work and office, as an apostle and preacher of the Gospel, in which he had now reinstated and confirmed him, and patiently bearing and suffering all kind of reproach, persecution, and death, for his name's sake.


F6 Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 2. c 25.

John 21:19 In-Context

17 He asked him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, "Do you love Me?" He said, "Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You." "Feed My sheep," Jesus said.
18 "I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don't want to go."
19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, "Follow Me!"
20 So Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them. [That disciple] was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and asked, "Lord, who is the one that's going to betray You?"
21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord-what about him?"

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Jesus predicts that Peter would be martyred. Church tradition says that Peter was crucified upside down.
  • [b]. Jn 1:43; 8:12; 10:27
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