Our Lord revealed to Peter the way he would glorify God in death; and Peter looked at John and asked, ‘Lord, what will John do? In what way will John suffer?’ It is really difficult to determine the reason Peter asked this of Christ. Was he genuinely concerned for his friend John? Was he just curious about John’s future service and usefulness? Or was he thinking, ‘If I am to be a prisoner and die for the faith, should not John and the others suffer also? Am I the only one who will bear the wrath of men for the glory of God?’ From the answer that our Lord gave to Peter, we can determine that the question was impertinent, improper, and totally out of place. Evidently our Lord’s command, ‘You follow me,’ had not registered fully with Peter.
The Lord’s reply carries a strong rebuke for Peter’s curiosity, friendly interest, probing into secret matters, or whatever it was that motivated the question. ‘If it is my will for John to live and not die until I return, of what concern is that to you? You will follow me!’ While the body of Christ is made up of many members and our one goal and purpose is to glorify our Head, Jesus Christ (to preach his word, to feed his sheep, and to follow him), yet the work each member does, the gifts each member has, the place each occupies, and the suffering each endures are according to the will and purpose of the Lord. We must be occupied with our own ministry, calling and faithfulness to Christ and not be taken up with how, when, or where he is pleased to use others (1 Corinthians 12:12-21). There should be no jealousy, envy, nor self-seeking among the servants of the great King. In his infinite wisdom and according to his purpose, he calls and assigns each servant to his place and work, which work is to be done willingly, diligently, and unto the Lord (2 Timothy 2:9-10).