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Ltryptophan's avatar

Does John 21:23-24 describe an immortal disciple waiting for the second coming?

Asked by Ltryptophan (10243points) January 17th, 2012

It may be that in verse 24 the way “die” is mentioned simply means that he wouldn’t die for following Jesus, as Peter later would not that he would live until Jesus’ return which hasn’t occurred just yet some 2000 years later. If Jesus’ did will that he remained till He comes….he might still be running around here somewhere!!!!

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11 Answers

digitalimpression's avatar

I don’t read it to say anything of an immortal disciple.
Here’s how I read it.
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come , what is that to thee? follow thou me.
If he sticks around, what difference does it make to you?
23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die : yet Jesus said not unto him , He shall not die ; but, If I will that he tarry till I come , what is that to thee?
The other disciples started murmuring amongst themselves that they probably shouldn’t kill him to prevent his betrayal of Jesus as Jesus basically just told them it wasn’t their concern. Jesus confirmed that they shouldn’t kill him when He said “He shall not die”.. again reminding them that the fate of this disciple was not their concern.

I am pretty tired right now, but this is how I read it bearing in mind the rest of the context that goes with it.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@digitalimpression there was no threat from the disciple in question. That particular disciple was very close to Jesus, so much so that he was the one who asked who would betray Him. The way it is written is not that this disciple was tagging along, but rather that either a) it might not be Jesus’ will that he die like a martyr or b) it might not be Jesus’ will that he die at all and live to see the second coming. It is definitely one or the other.

filmfann's avatar

Belief and acceptence of Christ is rewarded with eternal life.
Don’t think physical death of the body. Think life of the soul.

I am also not an expert on such things, but this is how I read it

Nullo's avatar

Not as such. Peter is asking about the one who is going to betray Jesus, and Jesus is saying that it’s not something that Peter ought to be worrying about.
The KJV may be the best version objectively, but if you can’t understand the older English in it then there’s no point. In such case, it is advisable to use a copy that makes more sense to you, like the NKJV.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Ltryptophan's avatar

@Nullo please explain how you have come to the understanding that this verse has anything to do with betrayal.

Ron_C's avatar

The way I read it, Jesus was deluded in thinking that his predictions would happen in the immediate future. No one from biblical times is alive now and none of Jesus’ predictions have come true. It is all just “tales told around the campfire”. Good story, very little remaining truth.

bkcunningham's avatar

@Ltryptophan, Jesus has already been crucified at this point. Jesus was reestablishing His relationship with Peter in this passage. Peter had denied Jesus and Jesus is reestablishing to Peter who Peter is and what is job is to be. Notice what Jesus calls Peter in this passage. His name before his became a follower. There are three restorations in this passage for the three times Peter denied Jesus.

Jesus is telling Peter that he will die. He wants him to confront his sins. That is why Jesus asked him three times if Peter loved Him. Jesus is commissioning Peter to do his work. To tend His sheep. But first Peter must understand forgiveness and that all must die.

Peter says, “Lord, what about this man.” Referring to John. Jesus basically says, what about him. We are discussing you Peter. If I want John to live until I come again, what difference does that make to you. I am talking about your life and death. Not John’s.”

Nullo's avatar

@Ltryptophan From it being late at night, and seeing verse 20 (which calls back to the Last Supper) and failing to properly place it in its context. :D

I’ve checked it again, though, and looked through a couple commentaries; this one states that Jesus is essentially saying that Peter ought to concern himself with his own walk.
Peter has just been told that he’ll be facing an uncomfortable end; he asks about another disciple – possibly to see if his predicted outcome had anything to do with his earlier denials. Jesus replies rhetorically, “What is it to you? You follow Me.”

Ltryptophan's avatar

Yes, well I am even less concerned then Peter is with Peter. I want to know if John is still alive…

Jesus is saying it’s only His business if that were the case, but seriously…John’s out and about?

Nullo's avatar

@Ltryptophan Consensus is that Jesus was speaking rhetorically, or else hypothetically.

John 21:23 reads, “Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”

In short, John has moved on to greener pastures.

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