Nearing home with hope. This principle is what Jesus was explaining to Peter shortly before He ascended to Heaven. The dialogue between Peter and his Lord is one of the most direct yet tender exchanges in the Gospels. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you truly love me?” Peter answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep . . . . 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” (John 21:16-18).
Jesus was predicting Peter’s death, which would occur some forty years later. Peter recalled the conversation when he wrote, “I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things” (2 Peter 1:13-15).
In the face of brutal death, this old and faithful follower of Jesus was doing what Christ commanded: care for others. While Peter was preparing to depart his earthly life, he did not back down in reminding others what they should remember long after he as gone. What were these things? Peter had just finished telling them: “Add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
Peter did not wallow in self-pity but immersed himself in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, a phrase repeated multiple times in the eight short chapters of 1 and 2 Peter.
You may still be an active senior adult, or you may be riddles with aches and confined to bed, but you can still be a productive servant of Jesus Christ and, as Peter did, impacting those around you with hope: “In keeping with his [Christ’s] promise we are looking forward to a new heaven . . . . So then, dear friends, . . . grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:13, 14, 18).