Faithlife
Faithlife

Br Rd Easter pm Restoration of Simon Peter -- Easter pm 2003

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts

The Restoration of Simon Peter

John 21

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 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.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

                                                                        extract – verses 15-19

As we saw this morning in our study of Thomas – John’s record of the resurrection is, as indeed all of his gospel is, a series of PERSONAL ENCOUNTERS – discussions between Jesus and key individuals.   Here the key individual as Simon.

WE can only imagine how Peter felt during those first days and weeks after the terrible events we call Good Friday, and the seemingly incredible events of Easter Day and the week later.   Like Thomas – but possibly with more justification – Peter had lots of reasons for self-doubt and recrimination.   If Christ’s plan for him is to be realised then there has to be a resolving of those issues and a full restoration of Peter to the position of trust and responsibility.  

Jesus never leaves a task partly finished. He intends to meet Simon and set him on his feet again.

In considering the wonderful way that Jesus re-enters Simon’s life and reasserts His leadership of Peter we may look at the story in this way:

    The theological background

    The personal issues

    The challenge and restoration

The Theological Background

I use the word theological in its broadest sense. You would expect God to be involved in the process – for it is a process all of grace.  But you need to notice the BASIC PRINCIPLES and REALITIES that underpin Simon’s restoration.

They are in fact the essential facts about our Lord in the passage:-

    He is risen

    He has the power to transform

    He knows what the future holds

and

    He is sovereign in His disciples’ lives

HE IS RISEN

1 Afterwards Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:

The story itself is a narrative establishing the RISEN LIFE OF JESUS

During the night He has arrived at the lake-side, and in the morning, after such an unprofitable night – He is waiting on the shore beside a fire, with a meal ready

9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

Of course they had seen Him before – but who knows what doubts still lingered – and for Peter – how many unanswered questions remained.  Yes we saw Him – so did Thomas, He showed him his hands and his side…

IF CHRIST BE NOT RISEN then there is no hope of salvation let alone restoration. But because He lives – our sin is dealt with and we may live also!

HE HAS THE POWER TO TRANSFORM

 

It was not a coincidence that Jesus should appear on the lakeside after a barren night’s fishing. It had happened before – LUKE 5 tells us of that first miraculous catch of fish and how Peter reacted when Jesus first challenged His “fishers of men”.

It was no coincidence either that another fire of coals like that in the courtyard of the High Priest should be set there on the beach – a poignant and perfumed reminder of Peter’s earlier denial.

He who is risen sets about the work that is His alone the work of RESTORING TO HIMSELF the apostle Peter.   He has planned it – as you would expect. It is His desire that Peter will be brought by careful but definite stages to the point where the Lord can ask him about his love – and open for him the future and continuing ministry.

What a wonderful Saviour we have – who times His interventions in our lives so that we can meet Him and respond to His invitation to follow!

But we notice too that Jesus again reminds Peter that HE KNOWS WHAT LIES AHEAD:

HE KNOWS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS

 

It had happened before.  Jesus had warned His disciples and Peter in particular that they would forsake Him and that Peter would deny Him!

And so here too in the dialogue that restores:

18 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.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.

At a time when Peter is acutely conscious of his own UNCERTAINTY – Jesus reminds Him that HE KNOWS all things – He knows the minute detail of his friend’s future.

And, linked with this is

HIS SOVEREIGNTY OVER HIS PEOPLE

 

When Peter looks over his shoulder and sees John following he awkwardly asks:

21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

“What is that to you? You must follow me!” 

How Peter must have wished he had a different personality – Jesus reminds him that He is in charge – and the disciples’ personality is His business.

The Personal Issues

There is a lot in this narrative about the character of Simon Peter.   Jesus will meet Simon again at the very point of his need. What he needs most of all right now is to know that His Lord understands and has forgiven, that he can still be useful to Him.

These are just some of the issues:

PERSONAL WEAKNESS

It is summed up in Peter’s words

3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Back to the familiar – and why not?  He may have failed as a disciple – but surely he can still succeed as a fisherman!

And still a leader of men! 

But “that night they caught nothing…

And to add to that – when the stranger on the lakeside asks about fish and suggests a starboard net – even then Peter does not recognise Him – only John does!

HURT

In the discussion about love – Simon Peter is “grieved” that Jesus needs to ask the question over and over:

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”

Here was another hurt to add to all the others – and believe me, Peter was hurting!

RIVALRY

There had always been a rivalry between these two disciples. They were so different in temperament – the only thing that united them (apart from their Master) was fishing.   They had run to the tomb – and John got there first. And now when Simon sees his friend following  he asks “What about him?”  (v21)

I don’t know about you – but I’ve been there too.

You know as I do the other Christians whose lives seem untroubled by doubt, serene in confidence, constantly close to the Lord…

They can be an irritant in our side too.    (I had one at college – and have had a few since.)

And all conspires to make us FEEL WEAK

Add to the situation that Enemy of the soul – and you have a recipe for total self doubt and despair.

That’s why we need the Risen Saviour!

And His work – associated always with His victory over the tomb is the ministry of RESTORATION:

The Challenge and the Reinstatement

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 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.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

I am sure you are familiar with the differences of phrasing in the conversation, and I don’t propose to make a great deal of it tonight.  What I want to emphasise is the way the Master links POWER and UNDERSTANDING to address His challenge to Peter in such a way that Peter will be brought back into a loving and obedient relationship with his Lord.

In this challenge we have :

    A repeated question

    A repeated challenge

    A repeated commandment 

They are all inter-related. For the purpose is to get Peter and His Lord alone- Peter and His Lord restored. So that the process of discipleship can be back on course.

THE REPEATED QUESTION

 

Do you love me?

That’s what it’s all about – of course. Not “can I depend on you?” or “Will you let me down again?” or “Can I trust you?”   Do you love me?

The priority of an exclusive relationship with Christ.

But Jesus knows that Peter is carrying a great weight of responsibility and guilt. He feels acutely that which marked him out from the others – his denial. (And John  - yes John the beloved had been there all the time too hadn’t he?)

So Jesus eliminates OTHERS from the equation

“Do you love me more than these…?”

Concentrate on Me – He is saying.    This need for restoration is all about YOU and ME – no one else.

And Peter is irked that the question has to be asked three times – but then Peter is not famous for learning lessons the first time round!

It’s about LOVE – love for the Master.

And He cannot be deceived – “He knows all things…”

THE REPEATED CHALLENGE

And with each “Do you love me?” goes an accompanying charge:

 

 

Feed my lambs

Take care of my sheep

Feed my sheep

 

Forget fishing for the moment Peter – there’s a new job here – a new responsibility but like the old one.

Involving MY PEOPLE  - young     in need      hungry

Whatever else Jesus meant by it – He meant Peter to be in no doubt that there was work for him to do.

And for you and me the challenge – like the question – is the same.

and finally –

THE REPEATED COMMANDMENT

“FOLLOW ME”

Not a new commandment then, Lord?

No – just the same one as first had you on your knees – and then close beside me learning of me at every step – FOLLOW ME!

So where are we this Easter Sunday evening?

Maybe like Thomas requiring evidence and discovering that the Lord is alive

Or like Peter –    going back

                        preoccupied with others

                        unsure of the future?

He who LIVES – KNOWS and LONGS TO DRAW YOU BACK INTO A LOVING and exclusive relationship with Himself

To offer us a part however small in His plan

To issue that simple charge :  FOLLOW  ME!

                       

RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →