Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you [phileo] Me?” John 21:17
In English, we really only have one word to describe deep connecting feelings for another individual: love. Our word for love can be used in varying contexts though. I love God, I love my wife, I love my youth group, and I love tacos. All four of those are different types of love, and the Greek language would have a different one for each one. Here, Jesus asks Peter twice, “Do you agapao (unconditional love) Me.” Peter’s response is always, “You know I phileo (brotherly love) you.” In the final occurrence, Jesus uses Peter’s term, phileo. This one was the final straw. Peter was unable to tell Jesus that he loved Jesus as much as Jesus loved him, so Jesus dumbed it down to something like, “Do you really even love me like a brother?”
Do you love Jesus? It is impossible to be able to love Him as much as He loves us, but can you at least say that you love him with all your heart? Or is He just another person that we say we love and put on the same level as tacos?
There’s little doubt Peter was carrying a heavy burden. He knew this moment was coming. I imagine he both longed for it and dreaded it, like a child who longs for reconciliation with a parent; longing for their nearness again, but fearful of facing what you have done, along with their disappointment.
To Peter’s surprise, his burden would be lifted, and his identity forever changed with just a few moments alone with Jesus.
The death and resurrection of Jesus assured that his identity would no longer be defined by his greatest sin, but by the very righteousness of God. Peter was given new life and a new purpose.
Re:Verse passage –John 21:15-25(day five). So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” I love this conversation and interaction between Jesus and Peter. It reminds me that Jesus is not intimidated or hesitant to call out or confront sin. What may seem awkward or uncomfortable to us, is not to Jesus. He just dives in, “Do you love Me more than these?” Peter knew exactly what Jesus was doing. And Jesus knew exactly what Peter needed- confrontation and restoration (often, so do we). Just a few earlier, Peter had blown it. Failed in spectacular fashion. And yet, Jesus both reminds and restores. Doesn’t let Peter off the hook. Leads Peter to “grieve” the sins of his denial, pride, and comparison. And in the midst of grief, restores and commissions him to obedience (ministry for Peter). As the Lord continues that work with us- please remember the outcome of conviction, confession, and repentance (need all of these) is obedience. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” John 10:27
I love the symmetry that we see between this passage and where we started in chapter 18. Peter denies Jesus three times, and now, in Jesus’ kindness, Peter gets to affirm his love for him three times. Jesus deals with Peter’s shame and fear so tenderly. He fully restores him.
What great timing it is that we’re studying this passage as we begin the season of Lent. As we spend this season in prayer, repentance, and drawing closer to the Lord, let’s put ourselves in Peter’s shoes. When the Lord asks, “Do you love me?” – what is our response? Have you denied Jesus in one way or another? Well, Jesus offers restoration to you, just like Peter.
Just as Jesus’ restoration for Peter is offered to us, his command to Peter is given to us as well: “Tend my sheep.”
How are you tending to his sheep? What does it look like for you to respond to what Jesus is asking of you? How might you focus on that during this Lenten season?
“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’”
Everyone longs to know the answer to this question. You’ve asked it all your life in various ways. “Do I matter to you?” “Do you treasure what I’ve accomplished?” “Will my presence make a difference to you?” You wanted your family to see your game or your recital. You feel joy when a friend celebrates your birthday. The question is a vulnerable one, and the stakes for your inner life are high. The answer isn’t always yes, even when the words would claim otherwise. You feel love when it’s really there, and you can tell when it’s not, though admitting its absence is sometimes more painful than you can bear. Jesus longed for Peter’s love, and he longs for yours. He’s really asking in all vulnerability.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. vs. 25
This is one of my favorite verses from my favorite Gospel. It is whimsical, and yet profound. Since we are so far removed from the life of Jesus, the apostles and all the other saints and prophets, we sometimes read scripture as a moment by moment account of their lives. If it isn’t written, it didn’t happen. John reminds us how inaccurate that line of think is. This side of glory we will not know the scope of his work while he walked the earth. The apostles have given us this beautiful framework that testifies to his divinity, his perfection, and his purpose, but it is by no means meant to be an exhaustive account of his life. Think for a moment about those conversations not recorded in the pages of scripture. Think of the lives that were forever changed by a touch, a miracle, a new understanding of God’s love. This by no means lessens those moments because the were not recorded. It is likely that none of the conversations you have with someone about Jesus will be written for posterity. That won’t matter to the one who finds Jesus in your words.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to skyO love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty, and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through John 21:15-25 in our Winter Re:Verse Series: “The Beauty of Restoration” The Final Days of Jesus in the Gospel of John.
One of my favorite classes in college was a hermeneutics course taught by a man named Dr. Bell. During each class, he would help us go through various scriptures, teaching us to find the answers to the details of what we read. Often, our searches led to more questions and more searches throughout the entirety of the Bible. It made reading the Bible in this light an adventure each time we opened it to read. Have you ever paid attention to the seemingly “unnecessary” details of Scripture as you read?
In John’s account of seeing Jesus again in chapter 21, we encounter many details that seem small and insignificant at first. He includes the number of fish caught in the net, (reminding us of another miraculous catch Jesus guided them to). He includes that Jesus cooked breakfast over a charcoal fire (reminding us of another charcoal fire from a few nights prior). John includes that Peter put on his coat to jump into the water to get to Jesus. He writes that seven disciples were present that day, but only names five of them. These details point us to deeper truths in the Word.
Some of the details may simply be in there to provide info on eyewitness accounts, and some may point us to bigger truths that God wants us to know. We may not know why God included some details, but we can rest assured that God doesn’t waste words. No detail was insignificant or unnecessary.
Are there any details that you are missing when you read?
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5
In the resurrected body of Jesus is the promise of a new creation. We tend to over-spiritualize the mission of Jesus, as if God is not concerned with our bodies and the rest of the material world. Jesus’ resurrection loudly says otherwise! Our salvation will only be complete with the re-creation of our bodies at the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns. Paul describes Jesus as the “first-born from the dead;” all those in Christ will follow.
As the disciples marveled at the resurrected Jesus, I imagine they began to conclude that he was doing something brand-new, and although the law and the prophets had always pointed to a new creation, they could not have fathomed it until those moments of revelation (John 21:1) with Jesus.
Let me encourage you not to be short-sighted in your hope in Jesus. Marvel that Jesus is “making all things new!” The work he began in your life will be completed when he returns.
Re:Verse passage –John 21:1-14(day five) This weekend close to a hundred teenagers from FBCSA and their friends will gather in homes around San Antonio to study God’s Word, worship in Spirit and Truth, and to fellowship with one another. As they take part in Freedom Weekend over the next couple of days, may they (like these 7 disciples) encounter and recognize the Risen Savior “near and waiting for them” -asking them questions (to soften their hearts and challenge their pride) – giving them instructions on how to navigate life and their current circumstances- providing moments and indicators that He can and will take care of them to include meeting both their physical and spiritual needs. And, may they (like Peter) “jump in” with passion and confidence to be near Him, and may they (like the disciples) trust and obey His commands and instruction.
Will you pray for our Youth Ministry this weekend? Will you pray for yourself in the same ways?Encounter, Obedience, Passion.