“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!’” (John 21:21-22).
Jesus appeared to His disciples numerous times after His resurrection. Each time, He reminded them of His awesome power, doing things like appearing in the middle of a locked room. He later repeated His miracle of causing Peter and several other disciples to catch a great amount of fish—153 of them, to be exact. Following this miracle, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, to which Peter responded three times that he did. In this way, Jesus demonstrated that He had restored Peter’s relationship with Himself, repeating the miracle He had used to first call Peter and then having him say three times that he loved Him in place of the three times he had denied Him.
Later, Jesus began to speak to Peter of how he would die. He didn’t give any specific details, but He did say that “‘when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go’” (21:18). Tradition states that Peter was crucified upside-down, due to his own insistence that he was not worthy of dying in the same way as his Lord.
Hearing this description of his own death, Peter looked behind him and saw John following them. He asked Jesus how John would die—a perfectly natural question, given the conversation. Jesus, however, wouldn’t tell him. What happened to John wasn’t important to Peter’s own walk with Christ. His focus needed to be on what God called him to do, not on John or anyone else.
It’s easy to get caught up in what God is doing in other people’s lives. We want to know how He will use those around us and what will happen to them as time goes on. But that can easily become a distraction. God wants to tell us our own story, not someone else’s. We must pursue the path set before our own feet, being grateful for those who run alongside us but not chasing after them when their path veers from ours. We are called to follow only God.