Saturday, April 24, 2010

Jesus Persuades Peter By Showing Him Where To Fish, Asking If He Loves Him, And Predicting His Death: John 21:1-25

Text: John 21:1-25

Theme: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:30-31).

4. Post Resurrection Persuasion (20-21)
     B. Of the disciples (20b-21)

Jesus persuades Peter to follow Him, by showing him where to fish (v1-14), asking if he loved Him (v15-17), and predicting his death for God (v18-25).

Jesus showed Peter where to fish (v1-14). The situation at the Lord's third appearance seems like when He first called Peter to follow Him (cf.Luke 5:1-11). Peter and the disciples had caught nothing all night, but when Jesus showed them where to throw their nets, they caught "a great number of fish".  This event persuaded Peter to leave all and follow Jesus in the first place, and now, he immediately throws himself into the sea and swims to Jesus. At the first call, Jesus promised to make Peter a fisher of men, and here again, He shows him where to fish.
Jesus asked if Peter loved Him (v15-17). What did Jesus mean when He asked if Peter loved Him "more than these"? Was He referring to the fish, and the job of fishing? Perhaps. Was He asking whether Peter loved Him more than he loved the other disciples? This seems unlikely. Jesus may have asked whether Peter loved Him more than the other disciples loved Him.  Before Jesus died, Peter said he was willing to die for Him, even if all the others failed (cf. Matthew 26:33). Then, as Jesus predicted, Peter denied the Lord three times (cf. 18:25-27). By three times asking if he loved Him, Jesus seems to both remind Peter of his need for humility, yet restore his confession of love for Jesus (cf. Luke 22:31-34). In connection with his confession, the Lord told Peter to feed his sheep. This may refer to the ministry of teaching believers the Word of God (cf. 2 Peter 1:12ff), and include voluntary, sincere, humble leadership and oversight (1 Peter 5:1ff). Jesus asked if Peter loved Him. 

Jesus predicted Peter's death for God (v18-25). Jesus told Peter that when he was old, someone would bind his hands and lead him where he did not want to go. This was what  happened to Jesus when He was crucified (cf. John 18:12, 24), and signified, "by what kind of death he [Peter] would glorify God" (21:19). "When He had spoken this to Peter, He said to him, "follow me!". Peter asked what would become of John, but the Lord said, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!" (v22). Evidently some of the disciples thought Jesus meant John would not die. John here makes a correction by saying that Jesus did not say he would not die, but only that if it were His will for John to remain until He returned, what was that to Peter? After His resurrection, the disciples didn't know when Jesus would next appear, only that it could be in their lifetime. 1 Corinthians 15:50ff., and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 say that Jesus could return in our lifetime, and that even believers who die will be raised. Jesus predicted Peter's death for God.

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