At the end of the conversation between Peter and Jesus, we see two men walking on the beach. As the waves lap at the shore, Jesus tells Peter about the cost of discipleship. He wants Peter to know clearly what he will face if He accepts Jesus’ invitation to “feed My sheep”.
Read John 21.18-19. What did Jesus tell Peter about the cost of discipleship? Why do you think Jesus revealed something so startling to Peter at this point in his life?
In these words, Christ foretold the martyrdom that one day Peter would experience. His hands would be stretched out on a cross. In this revelation, Christ offered Peter a choice. He offered him life’s greatest joy: seeing souls won for the kingdom of God. On the day of Pentecost he would see thousands come to Christ. He would perform miracles in Jesus’ name and glorify Him before many more thousands. He would have the everlasting joy of fellowship with Christ in His mission.
But that privilege would come with a price. It would demand a sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice. Peter was asked to make the commitment with his eyes wide open. For Peter now knew that no sacrifice was too great to join Jesus in His mission to the world.
Read 1 John 3:16-18. For John, love is more than a vague abstraction. How does John define love’s ultimate sacrifice?
In eternity, nothing we have ever done will seem like a sacrifice. Our investment of time and effort, the investment of our lives, will seem overabundantly rewarded. What a joy it is to turn love into action, to turn intentions into commitment. When we respond to divine love by holding nothing back as we reach out in service to witness to others as ambassadors to Christ, we fulfill the purpose of our lives and experience life’s greatest joy. As Jesus so aptly put it, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17, NKJV). Life’s greatest joy and lasting happiness comes when we are fulfilling the meaning of our existence by glorifying God by the way we live and share His love and truth with the world.
It’s hard to grasp the idea of eternity, when all we know is a tiny bit of time. But, as well as you can, try to imagine eternal life, an eternal good life — better than anything we can have here — and, thus, why nothing here, in this short spurt of time, would be worth losing the promise of eternal life that we have in Jesus.