“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but 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.”  (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Loving Jesus and serving His sheep will be costly. If Peter follows Jesus, he will die a martyr. We prefer to follow Jesus soaring above the storm, away from the mud, and the mess, and the ugliness of life. But this is not the way of love. In 1 Corinthians 4:15, the Apostle Paul says, “For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers.” It’s much easier to be a guide, than a father. It’s much easier to be a Bible teacher than a mentor, a counselor than a parent, or a manager than a shepherd.
Real love does not clock in and clock out. We know this. When we get married, we no longer get to do whatever we want. When we have children, we don’t get to go wherever we want. Will following Jesus cost us less?
Loving Jesus and serving His sheep is costly, and moreover each of us does not get to choose what cost we will pay. Jesus does not invite Peter to submit his business plan for approval. Peter loves Jesus but martyrdom is certainly not his personal plan. But there is more to life than our personal plans, even our “spiritual” personal plans.
In the end, Peter does follow Jesus and he does lose his life. Peter preaches the gospel even though it gets him crucified all because he understands that Jesus does not just say “Follow.” Jesus says, “Follow ME.”
Wherever Peter goes, whatever he endures, Jesus will be there with him. Peter is willing to die because he knows when he follows Jesus, even in death, he will be near His Savior.
Jesus does not send us out alone. He is a good shepherd. Jesus will take care of us. He will use His staff to beat back the wolves. He walks with us through the very valley of the shadow of death.