John 21:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 21:18, NIV: Very truly I tell you, 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 21:18, ESV: 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.”

John 21:18, KJV: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

John 21:18, NASB: Truly, truly I tell you, when you were younger, you used to put on your belt and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will put your belt on you, and bring you where you do not want to go.'

John 21:18, NLT: 'I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don't want to go.'

John 21:18, CSB: "Truly I tell you, when you were younger, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don't want to go."

What does John 21:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Peter denied Jesus three times (John 13:35–38; Luke 22:61–62). Three times, Jesus made Peter affirm his love and faith (John 21:15–17). Jesus called Peter after a miraculous provision of fish (Luke 5:5–11). Having performed a similar miracle yet again (John 21:4–8), Jesus is about to restore Peter's calling (John 21:19).

First, Jesus makes a prediction which is both dire and comforting. The description of being dressed and led, with outstretched hands, is a poetic foreshadowing of crucifixion. The following verse confirms this. Church tradition indicates Peter was crucified and asked to be hung upside down out of respect for Christ's similar death. While this seems like a terrible fate, it implies something Peter would find encouraging: his faith would never fail him again. That doesn't mean Peter would be perfect (Galatians 2:11–14). It does mean his passionate desire to serve Jesus would define the rest of his life.