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John 21:18-23

Context
21:18 I tell you the solemn truth, 1  when you were young, you tied your clothes around you 2  and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up 3  and bring you where you do not want to go.” 21:19 (Now Jesus 4  said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter 5  was going to glorify God.) 6  After he said this, Jesus told Peter, 7  “Follow me.”

Peter and the Disciple Jesus Loved

21:20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. 8  (This was the disciple 9  who had leaned back against Jesus’ 10  chest at the meal and asked, 11  “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?”) 12  21:21 So when Peter saw him, 13  he asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” 21:22 Jesus replied, 14  “If I want him to live 15  until I come back, 16  what concern is that of yours? You follow me!” 21:23 So the saying circulated 17  among the brothers and sisters 18  that this disciple was not going to die. But Jesus did not say to him that he was not going to die, but rather, “If I want him to live 19  until I come back, 20  what concern is that of yours?”

1 tn Grk “Truly, truly, I say to you.”

2 tn Or “you girded yourself.”

3 tn Grk “others will gird you.”

4 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Peter) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author. The phrase by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God almost certainly indicates martyrdom (cf. 1 Pet 4:16), and it may not predict anything more than that. But the parallelism of this phrase to similar phrases in John 12:33 and 18:32 which describe Jesus’ own death by crucifixion have led many to suggest that the picture Jesus is portraying for Peter looks not just at martyrdom but at death by crucifixion. This seems to be confirmed by the phrase you will stretch out your hands in the preceding verse. There is some evidence that the early church understood this and similar phrases (one of them in Isa 65:2) to refer to crucifixion (for a detailed discussion of the evidence see L. Morris, John [NICNT], 876, n. 52). Some have objected that if this phrase does indeed refer to crucifixion, the order within v. 18 is wrong, because the stretching out of the hands in crucifixion precedes the binding and leading where one does not wish to go. R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:1108) sees this as a deliberate reversal of the normal order (hysteron proteron) intended to emphasize the stretching out of the hands. Another possible explanation for the unusual order is the Roman practice in crucifixions of tying the condemned prisoner’s arms to the crossbeam (patibulum) and forcing him to carry it to the place of execution (W. Bauer as cited by O. Cullmann in Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr [LHD], 88).

7 tn Grk “After he said this, he said to him”; the referents (first Jesus, second Peter) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn The word “them” is not in the Greek text but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

9 tn The words “This was the disciple” are not in the Greek text, but are supplied for clarity.

10 tn Grk “his”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

11 tn Grk “and said.”

12 sn This is a parenthetical note by the author.

13 tn Grk “saw this one.”

14 tn Grk “Jesus said to him.”

15 tn Grk “to stay” or “to remain”; but since longevity is the issue in the context, “to live” conveys the idea more clearly.

16 tn The word “back” is supplied to clarify the meaning.

17 tn Grk “went out.”

18 tn Grk “the brothers,” but here the term refers to more than just the immediate disciples of Jesus (as it does in 20:17). Here, as R. E. Brown notes (John [AB], 2:1110), it refers to Christians of the Johannine community (which would include both men and women).

19 tn Grk “to stay” or “to remain”; but since longevity is the issue in the context, “to live” conveys the idea more clearly.

20 tn The word “back” is supplied to clarify the meaning.



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