Stretch Out Your Hands

Cross rugged

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go… Follow me!” (John 21:18,19b, NIV).

Do you recognize these words? John the Beloved tells us that Jesus spoke them to Peter, prophesying the kind of death by which he would bring glory to God. We may have read them and not spent much time on them, figuring they only applied to Peter’s life. However, they really apply to each one of us. You and I probably won’t end up crucified upside down in a bloody martyr’s death. However, Jesus did call us to take up our cross every day… that is, if we really want to follow Him.

Following Him is what this Scripture is all about. He concluded His words to Peter with the call: “Follow me!” To follow Jesus is to allow His Holy Spirit to put to death the works of our sinful nature. Every. Single. Day. When we were “young” as the passage describes, we did whatever we wanted to. We were self-willed, self-ruled. When we were unseasoned. Immature. Not grown up yet. “When you are old” symbolizes the end product of a lifetime of true discipleship. A lifetime of death to self.

To get to that point, we stretch out our hands and allow Him to lead us through a thousand deaths to our own preferences. We “die daily.” We surrender to Him. Again and again and again and again and again…

Every time we die, we are raised up even further into His new life. Resurrection power surges through us in ever-increasingly glorious ways. We come more and more and more… alive! More and more and more full of peace, more and more and more full of joy, more and more and more full of Jesus Himself. Until we, too, can say,

“I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Gal. 2:20a, NET).


Have you tasted of the glorious life that infills and transforms you when you are crucified with Christ?


10 thoughts on “Stretch Out Your Hands

  1. When I was ordained, I began another leg of a journey in which the destination is clear and my Driver is trusted, but the route is unknown. It will have its highs and lows, but through it all, I stand with Peter, when he responded to Christ, “Where else can we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” There is no choice for me but to continue to die with Him and rise again, and the blessings have been incredible. The ordained life isn’t always easy, but it was never meant to be. God continues to mold me (and us all) and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Liked by 1 person

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