Drop files to upload.
Faithlife
Faithlife

John 21

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view

Jesus reveals himself to his disciples for the 3rd time, and instead of finding them fishing for men, he finds them fishing for fish. He refocuses them on their mission and restores Peter after his failure to pastor the church.

Notes & Transcripts
Mission or Fishin’?
INTRODUCTION
Theme: While chapter 20 centered on the issue of faith, chapter 21 centers on the mission of the church.
While chapter 20 centered on the issue of faith, chapter 21 centers on the mission of the church.
BODY
Context: In John’s resurrection narrative the disciples faith was strengthened as they were commissioned (20:21), equipped (20:22), and authorized (20:23) to start building the church as “fishers of men,” but as we examine the world’s most scrutinized fishing trip, we find the disciples fishing for fish.
As we have seen, God’s mission to the world is also at the heart of John’s Gospel (cf. “Mission” in the Introduction). Each aspect of these appearance narratives contributes to the mobilization of the church and especially to the task of the leaders as they reach out to God’s flock and his world with the Good News.
After strengthening the faith of his disciples in ch. 20, Jesus commissioned and equipped his followers to be “fishers of men.” The disciples were “sent” (20:21), equipped (20:22)
The disciples were previously commissioned (20:21), equipped (20:22), and authorized (20:23) to start building the church as “fishers of men,” but instead they wind up fishing for fish.
ADVERTISEMENT
BODY
Jesus reveals himself to his disciples in order to get them focused on the mission of the church, and then he restores Peter following his failure while calling him to pastor his church when he leaves.
As we analyze the disciples’ encounter with Jesus, let’s examine ourselves and see if we are all about mission or fishin’!
I. Jesus’ Third Revelation to the Disciples (1-14)
A. Miraculous Fishing Trip (1-11)
1 After this (i.e., given the mission) Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way.
2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.
3 Simon Peter said to them (what should Peter the leader have said?), “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” (natural leader) They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus (allusion: don’t quiet yet comprehend Jesus).
5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”
6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some (seems illogical).” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish.
7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea.
8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.
B. Meal Fellowship (9-14)
9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish (singular) laid out on it, and bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”
11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn.
The missiological overtones are also obvious. When we obey Jesus - even when it seems illogical - wonderful things can happen.
B. Meal Fellowship (12-14)
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish (neuter, singular).
14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples (masculine, plural) after he was raised from the dead.
Reminiscent of their last supper together, Jesus establishes table fellowship in his new status. The significance is that through faith in Christ, we all have a resurrection fellowship with Jesus.
What have we discovered along with the disciples in Jesus’ 3rd revelation of himself to his disciples?
We have both provision and fellowship with Jesus to accomplish the mission that he has given the church, especially when the mission seems illogical.
It is easy for us to confuse mission with fishin’! We can do all sorts of things like building facilities, VBS, small group meetings, camps or retreats, or even feeding the hungry, but if we are not making disciples, then we have missed the point.
These are all good things, but we can become easily confused about our mission of spreading the Gospel.
What do you confuse with the mission of making disciples?
TRANSITION: It is easy to become confused about our mission, which is why Jesus provides the church with guides that will help keep the mission in focus.
The miraculous catch of fish (21:1–14) reminds us of the similar miracle in , with the same message—when God’s people surrender to the leading of the Lord, great things will happen for those who are “fishing for people.”
II. Jesus’ Timely Restoration of Peter (15-25)
Now that Jesus has reminded his church of its mission, Jesus sets his sights on restoring Peter and calling him to lead his church in its mission.
A. Pastoral Calling (15-17)
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon (dropped the ‘rock’), son of John, do you (1) love me more than (2) these ?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon (dropped the ‘rock’), son of John, do you love me more than these (“disciples” v. 14 - nearest antecedent)?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
2 issues to solve before proceeding:
16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
(1) “Love”: In the fourth Gospel, both words (agapaō and phileō) are used interchangeably for the word love. It has been suggested that Agapao is used as a God like love, while Phileo is used for a human like love. However, John used Phileo for love in the following situations earlier in this Gospel: (1) for the Father’s love for the Son, (2) for the Father’s love for the disciples, (3) for Jesus’ love for Lazarus and the beloved disciple, and (4) for Christians as “beloved.”
(e.g., for the Father’s love for the Son, for the Father’s love for the disciples, for Jesus’ love for Lazarus and the beloved disciple, and for Christians as “beloved.”
Conclusion: love is love.
(2) “These” [Masculine Plural / Neuter Plural]: Fishing equipment / fish vv. 3-11 VS. “disciples” v. 14 - nearest [Plural] antecedent + Peter claimed to be more loyal than others)
Conclusion: Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Jesus more than the other disciples.
16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
Peter had previously proclaimed his greater love and loyalty to Jesus than that of his peers, but he had failed miserably when he denied Jesus 3 times. Jesus is reminding him of his failure so that he can restore Peter and task him with leading the church in his absence.
BROKENNESS: Jesus helped Peter grasp his most valuable life lesson—he must learn humility before he could obtain leadership. Peter needed to confront realistically his shortcomings before he could guide the flock. This strong, powerful person had to be broken before he could deal compassionately with others. Do you aspire to lead others? It takes more than talent to gather followers.
To have Jesus’ style of leadership takes a spirit broken from pride, linked to God, and tender toward others.
BROKENNESS
Jesus helped Peter grasp his most valuable life lesson—he must learn humility before he could obtain leadership. Peter needed to confront realistically his shortcomings before he could guide the flock. This strong, powerful person had to be broken before he could deal compassionately with others. Do you aspire to lead others? It takes more than talent to gather followers. To have Jesus’ style of leadership takes a spirit broken from pride, linked to God, and tender toward others.
The pain or grief of Peter was not due to Jesus’ framing his question with the use of Peter’s own word (φιλεῖς instead of ἀγαπᾷς), but is explained by Jesus’ act when for the third time he put the same question to him, as though to ask whether there was any substance in his avowal of love, any ground for his accepting its reality. By this time all the old self-confidence and assertiveness manifest in Peter before the crucifixion of Jesus had drained away.
No matter how big you blow it, Jesus will restore you to kingdom work.
B. Prophecy of Crucifixion (18-19)
B. Prophecy of Crucifixion (18-19)
18 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.”
19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
It is our calling to follow Jesus no matter the cost.
C. Peter’s Concern over John (20-25)
Jesus now takes a walk with Peter and John - double meaning with “follow me.”
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you? [John asked Jesus this at Last Supper 13:24-25]”
21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”
22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John’s destiny is different than Peter’s; he will write the witness of these things cf., vv.24-25).
23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?” (John’s destiny is different than Peter’s; he will write the witness of these things cf., vv.24-25).
24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
It is God’s business about whom he calls to do what?
While we are all called to the mission of the church, Jesus has given each one of us a specific way in which we are to serve the mission of the church.
Serve without worrying about others service.
Lady walk around with glass of water.
Has God called you to be a pastor, teacher, or helper? In what ways are you currently accomplishing that role?
Don’t focus on how others are serving the mission of the church; just do what God told you to do!
CONCLUSION
Jesus wanted his church to be about the mission that he lived - save the world.
Has he saved you?
RESEARCH SECTION
Epilogue: The mission of the church and its chief apostles - BeasleyEpilogue: The complementary roles of Peter and the disciple Jesus loved - Kost.
“After these things” (see commentary at 2:12) signals that with the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread now past, the disciples have left Jerusalem and returned to Galilee (cf. ; see Moule 1957–58). “Again” explicitly identifies the following account as a resurrection narrative (cf. 21:14; see Ridderbos 1997: 658). “Sea of Tiberias” is an alternate designation for the Sea of Galilee (see commentary at 6:1). The word φανερόω (phaneroō, reveal) designates the subsequent appearance of the risen Lord Jesus as a “revelatory act.” Indeed, Jesus’ progressive self-disclosure is the constitutive element of , which moves “from lack of knowledge to knowledge limited to the Beloved Disciple to knowledge shared by all
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (pp. 587–588). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
While chapter 20 centered on the issue of faith, chapter 21 centers on the mission of the church. As we have seen, God’s mission to the world is also at the heart of John’s Gospel (cf. “Mission” in the Introduction). Each aspect of these appearance narratives contributes to the mobilization of the church and especially to the task of the leaders as they reach out to God’s flock and his world with the Good News. The miraculous catch of fish (21:1–14) reminds us of the similar miracle in , with the same message—when God’s people surrender to the leading of the Lord, great things will happen for those who are “fishing for people” (). Then the reinstatement of Peter (21:15–17) also centers on the responsibility of the leaders of the church to “feed” or care for God’s flock. Finally, there is the poignant passage (21:18–23) reminding each of us that as we serve the Lord and go through hard times, our response must always be to follow the Lord, no matter what is going on with others. In addition to Jesus, the key characters in this chapter are Peter and the beloved disciple, as all three stories center on them, especially on Peter, who was not just restored but given his commission and told his destiny.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 296–297). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
(ESV) I. The risen Lord appears to the disciples by the sea of Tiberias (1-14){1. Jesus appears to seven disciples (1-14)]1 After this Jesus revealed himself (c.f., v.14) again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together.
So seven disciples have come together, doubtless a symbolical number, representing the whole disciple group, and indeed the whole Body of disciples, the Church.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 399). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
“I’m going fishing,” says Peter, and the rest agree to go also. Never has a fishing trip been so severely judged! That a one-time fisherman should tell his friends one evening, “I’m going fishing,” does not imply, “I’m finished with preaching the kingdom of God, and I’m going back to my old job.” Even though Jesus be crucified and risen from the dead, the disciples must still eat! A
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 399). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
We moderns are extraordinarily unimaginative in our endeavors to understand the thinking of the disciples in a situation that had never existed in the world before. The only thing that they knew about the resurrection of the dead was that it comes at the end of the world; and one place where it may confidently be expected not to be revealed was Galilee! The heart of the world was Jerusalem, the navel of the earth, the place where Messiah’s throne would be set up, and all nations would flow to it and seek him. The disciples needed to understand before the death of Jesus that his conquest of death would not mean finis to history, and they needed to be told that even more urgently after the resurrection of Jesus; for in truth, the end of all things had come into history, not as its conclusion, but for its remaking.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 399). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Perhaps while waiting for further instructions, Peter, the commissioning in 20:21–23 notwithstanding, temporarily returns to his old occupation. Characteristically, he takes the initiative and is joined by six associates. They get into “the” boat,8 yet, as on previous occasions, “that night they caught nothing.” Nighttime was the preferred time for fishing in ancient times, including first-century Galilee (e.g., ). That way, fish caught before daybreak could be sold fresh in the morning
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (pp. 588–589). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.
The failure of the disciples to recognize Jesus on the shore is not to be taken as an indication that they had not seen him since his resurrection; rather it points to the mystery of Jesus in his resurrection state.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 400). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.”
Remarkably, the disciples never catch a fish in any of the Gospels without Jesus’ help
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 590). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. Nothing significant in the right side of the boat other than the fact that it points out that Jesus knows all things.
Then the stranger on the shore said an unusual thing, telling them to throw out their casting nets on the right side of the boat, and this without moving the trawl net to gather the fish! It
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 298). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
The message is that when we obey Jesus, even if it doesn’t seem logical, wonderful things will happen. The missiological overtones are also obvious
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 298). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
The number signifies the over-abundant blessing Christ had given to the disciples and therefore to the church in its mission. The unbroken net may signify the unity of the church (so Brown, Kysar, Whitacre) or perhaps that there would be no limit to the number of converts (Bruce; Witherington adds “without losing any”).
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 299). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread.
The provision of a meal of fish and bread by Jesus, particularly in light of the language used in v 13, imparts to the occasion something of the quality of the Last Supper.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 400). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn (divine intervention).
The inclusion of the specific number most likely reflects eyewitness recollection and points to the generous provision of Jesus.
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 593). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Since the options above continue from one imaginative solution to another, it is best to say simply that the number signifies the abundance of the blessings Christ poured out upon the disciples and therefore upon the church in the midst of its mission. This is the view favored by most today.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 295). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.
But it is doubtful that 6:1–15 is eucharistic (see note on 6:11), so this scene is probably not either. Rather, the emphasis here is on table fellowship—the sharing of a meal as the sharing of life. As Michaels says (1989:356), “The story of the miraculous catch and of the breakfast by the lake is to be understood in connection with the mission and unity of the church … and in particular with the expression of this unity in meal fellowship.” The mission is conducted by a church that is both dependent on Jesus and in intimate fellowship with him and with one another
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 299). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. II. The risen Lord appears to Peter (15-23)[2. Jesus and Peter (15-19)]
already appeared to Peter, and thus his personal repentance and forgiveness had already taken place by the time of this appearance. This then was a public (six other disciples were present) reinstatement of Peter to ministry (the threefold nature of the encounter offsetting his three denials, so Köstenberger), and even more, it was Peter’s marching orders, as he was commissioned to his new ministry.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 300). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
After breakfast, Jesus takes Peter aside in order to commission him for service. In the context of John’s Gospel, Peter’s threefold affirmation of his love for Jesus mirrors, and offsets, his threefold denial of Jesus preceding the crucifixion (cf. 18:15–18, 25–27). Although Jesus had expressed forgiveness to Peter and apparently had appeared to him privately prior to the present encounter (cf. ; ), the public nature of his denial of Jesus demands that his reinstatement to service be equally public in full view of his fellow disciples. There is also a connection between the present scene and Peter’s earlier pledges of loyalty in the presence of the other disciples (cf. 13:8, 37–38; 18:10–11; see Carson 1991: 675–76).
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 595). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
A. Jesus rehabilitates Peter and confirms his pastoral calling (15-17)15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these (fishing/disciples: latter)?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
What does these refer to? If it is the net and boat, then this question gets at the central point of discipleship and reveals a person’s heart. What do we love the most? Have we abandoned all to follow Jesus? Every time we are faced with a temptation this question is raised. Every time we become preoccupied with even the good things God gives us this question is raised.
But, while all of this is true, it is probably not the specific point here. By these Jesus probably means “these other disciples.”
Whitacre, R. A. (1999). John (Vol. 4, pp. 494–495). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
In the past it was common to find a great distinction between these two words, but in recent years the idea that they are close synonyms has come to prevail (for example, Carson 1991:676–77). The older idea that agapaō is divine love and phileō a lower, human love does indeed go too far. For both verbs are used of the love of the Father for the Son (3:35; 5:20), and agapaō can be used of false love, for example, the love of this world (). So a simple distinction between the verbs is not justified, but this does not mean there is no distinction at all. For in this passage there is a pattern, with Jesus asking Peter twice whether he loves him (agapaō) and each time Peter responding that, yes, he does love him (phileō). Then the third time Jesus switches to using Peter’s word. Such a pattern suggests there is a distinction here (McKay 1985; H. C. G. Moule 1898:176), and since agapaō is used more often in John for God’s love than is phileō, “it was likely that agapaō would be chosen for the higher meaning” (McKay 1985:322). The present context itself supports this view, for otherwise Peter would be claiming “the higher meaning” from the outset, which would not fit with his more chastened perspective. So the NIV seems justified in distinguishing these two terms in the present context
Whitacre, R. A. (1999). John (Vol. 4, p. 495). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
The difference between the terms for love in the conversation between Jesus and Peter led Westcott to assume that the changes were deliberate: whereas Jesus uses the higher term for love (ἀγαπάω) Peter lays claim only to the feeling of natural love (φιλέω). But when Jesus puts the question the third time, he adopts Peter’s word, as though he would test the truth of even the lower love that Peter professed, and it was for this reason that Peter was grieved, namely that Jesus appeared to doubt the reality of even that love which he had professed (2:367–69). Bernard examined the use of the two verbs in the Fourth Gospel and concluded that whatever distinction they may have had elsewhere, in the Gospel they are synonymous. Both terms are used of God’s love for man (3:16; 16:27), of the Father’s love for the Son (3:35; 5:20), of Jesus’ love for men (11:5; 11:3), of the love of men for men (13:34; 15:19), and of the love of men for Jesus (8:42; 16:27). Since the LXX Syr., and OL translations use both verbs indifferently, Bernard drew the inference that “we must treat ἀγαπᾷς and φιλεῖς in vv 15–17 as synonymous, as all patristic expositors do” (2:702–4). With this almost all exegetes concur, with two recent exceptions. J. Marsh asserted that whereas Bernard proved the point of rough synonymity, that does not prove that the words are used synonymously in this passage (Saint John, 672). Spicq also insisted that the distinction should be maintained here: “The subject is not a private conversation or a moral lesson given to a disciple, but the establishment of Peter at the head of the Church, his primacy; and the Saviour claims from him not an affection of a friend but the religious love of ἀγάπη, which constitutes the life itself of his Church” (ἈΓΑΠΗ, 3:233). Lofty as this sounds, it does not take seriously the habit of the author of this chapter to use synonyms. We have already noticed his treatment of προσφάγιον, ὀψάριον, and ἰχθύς as equivalents, despite their original differences in meaning. So also in vv 15–17, apart from the use of the two verbs for love, we find two verbs used for the shepherd’s care for his sheep, βόσκω and ποιμαίνω, and two or even three nouns for the sheep, ἀρνία, πρόβατα, and προβάτια (the MS support for the last is good, but not unanimous). It is difficult to believe that the author intended any distinction of meaning in these varied verbs and nouns; the same applies to the two verbs for love.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 394). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
To his relief the Lord accepts his avowal, and indicates his reinstatement with the declaration, “Take care of my lambs”; Peter’s love for his Lord is to be made manifest in his care for the Lord’s flock.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 405). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
There is an element of déjà vu in the ensuing scene: a charcoal fire and three questions regarding Peter’s stance toward Jesus.
The fact that there are two different verbs for “love” used in the present passage has led some to believe that ἀγαπάω (agapaō) and φιλέω (phileō) are distinct in meaning, but this is doubtful for at least two reasons: (1) the fact that the word ἀγαπάω, said to convey the notion of divine love, is used with reference to human love—and evil humans at that—in texts such as 3:19 and 12:43, and that φιλέω, said to connote human love, is used for God the Father in 5:20 (where he is said to love the Son) and 16:27 (where he is said to love the disciples); (2) the presence of other close synonyms in the same section, such as the use of two words for “know” (γινώσκω, ginōskō; οἶδα, oida), and stylistic variants of “tend/shepherd” (βόσκω, boskō; ποιμαίνω, poimainō) “my sheep/lambs” (ἀρνία, arnia; πρόβατα, probata) in 21:15–17 (Köstenberger 1999a: 193–94; Carson 1991: 676–77, citing Barr 1987: esp. 15).
But we must discern the thrust of the question “Do you truly love me more than these?” Is Jesus’ question whether Peter loves him more than he loves these men (Witherington 1995: 356, citing Osborne 1981: 308)? Is it whether Peter loves him more than these men do (Morris 1995: 768; Carson 1991: 675–76)? Or is Jesus asking whether Peter loves him more than he loves these fish—that is, his profession (Wiarda 1992: esp. 62–64; Keener 2003: 1236)? On one level, all three are true: Peter must love Jesus more than he loves other people (; ) or his natural profession (; ), and he is called to love Jesus more than these other men do and to be willing to render extraordinary sacrifice on behalf of his master (; ; ). Indeed, Peter earlier had claimed a devotion to Jesus exceeding that of the other disciples (; ; ; cf. 15:12–13). Hence, in context, the second alternative seems most likely here: Jesus challenges Peter to love him more than the other disciples do.
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (pp. 596–597). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
The pain or grief of Peter was not due to Jesus’ framing his question with the use of Peter’s own word (φιλεῖς instead of ἀγαπᾷς), but is explained by Jesus’ act when for the third time he put the same question to him, as though to ask whether there was any substance in his avowal of love, any ground for his accepting its reality. By this time all the old self-confidence and assertiveness manifest in Peter before the crucifixion of Jesus had drained away.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 405). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
For example, it is recounted how the elders of Israel came to David and said, “The Lord told you, ‘You shall shepherd my people Israel and you shall be prince over them’ ” (); on this Sheehan commented, “The position of shepherd and prince in such a citation makes the two words almost equal in meaning” (“Feed my Lambs,” 22–23). On that basis, said Sheehan, it is comprehensible to interpret the Lord’s commission to Peter to “shepherd” the flock as meaning that he should “rule” over it. With this Brown agrees, and believes that it is in line with fundamental principles. God is Shepherd; he delegates authority to rule; as in 20:21 Jesus sends his disciples in the manner that he was sent, so here he, as the model Shepherd, makes Peter the same. “The ideal of 10:16 is carried over into chapter 21: one sheep herd, one shepherd.” In harmony with this is interpreted as meaning that “the gift of the keys makes Peter the Prime Minister of the Kingdom”
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 406). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
There is no formal difference of meaning in the language by which the risen Lord confirmed Peter in his calling to be a shepherd of his sheep from that by which Peter and Paul exhorted the pastor-elders to fulfill their calling as shepherds of the flock of God in and .
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 407). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
By reason of his devastating experience of fall and restoration to the fellowship of his Lord, Peter is peculiarly fitted to carry out that aspect of the pastoral office, referred to by Jesus in : “Once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers” (jb). The letter known as 1 Peter is an excellent example of the Apostle’s fulfillment of that commission.
Beasley-Murray, G. R. (2002). John (Vol. 36, p. 407). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
Perhaps at long last Peter has learned that he cannot follow Jesus in his own strength and has realized the hollowness of affirming his own loyalty in a way that relies more on his own power of will than on Jesus’ enablement (cf. 13:36–38—significantly, in response to Jesus’ “new” love commandment). Likewise, we should soundly distrust self-serving pledges of loyalty today that betray self-reliance rather than a humble awareness of one’s own limitations in acting on one’s best intentions
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 598). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Jesus asked, “Peter, do you love me with a divine love (agapaō [25, 26])?” and Peter responds, “Lord, I like you a lot (phileō [5368, 5797]).” A little discouraged, Jesus tries again, “Peter, do you love me with a divine love (agapaō)” and Peter responds, “Lord, I am fond of you (phileō).” Jesus gives up, “Peter, do you like me (phileō)?” And Peter concludes, “What do you think I’ve been saying? Of course I like you (phileō).”
Of course, this translation is a little free, but it is not far off in showing the inevitable implications of such a reading. Jesus would be surrendering to Peter’s lower level of love. That is unlikely. Even more, it does not fit the actual meaning of the passage or the language used. In the fourth Gospel, both words (agapaō [25, 26] and phileō [5368, 5797]) are used for the Father’s love for the Son, for the Father’s love for the disciples, for Jesus’ love for Lazarus and the beloved disciple, and for Christians as “beloved” (Brown 1966:498). The consensus today is that the two terms are synonymous in John (Brown, Carson, Beasley-Murray, Burge, Blomberg, Keener, Köstenberger). Moreover, in these three short verses there are four word pairs—two words for “love,” two for “know,” two for “tend” (cf. “feed” and “take care of,” NLT), and two for “sheep” (cf. “lambs,” NLT). By this variety of terms, John was emphasizing the comprehensiveness of the message: deep love for Jesus will produce an intense desire to care for his flock. By restating the point three times, it is given ultimate importance.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (pp. 295–296). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
The threefold repetition emphasizes a superlative truth. So it is here; the heart of ministry is caring for the flock of God, so Jesus drove the point home via his threefold repetition. Köstenberger (2004:597) adds that the threefold repetition reflects “the Near Eastern custom of reiterating a matter three times before witnesses in order to convey a solemn obligation, especially with regard to contracts conferring rights or legal dispositions.” So
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 301). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
It is the error of our times to separate evangelism from discipleship and to center on winning the lost rather than building up the church; the best means of reaching the lost is to develop excited Christians who will take the gospel to others.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 301). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
B. A prophecy of Peter’s martyrdom (18-19)18 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.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Jesus now makes clear what prompted his questioning in 21:15–17 in the first place: “Jesus has sought not so much Peter’s triple retraction of his denial, and even less to embarrass him again before the other disciples; it is rather what awaits Peter in the future that prompts Jesus to reinforce his ties with him as never before”
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 598). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
C. The destiny of the Beloved disciple (20-23)[3. Jesus and the beloved disciple (20-25)]20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” (LADY CARRIED GLASS OF WATER ABOUT HYPOCRITES)
Peter’s responsibility was to follow Jesus, not to worry about the destiny of his friend. We are not to compare ourselves to others but are simply to seek and accept God’s will for us personally.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 302). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
When Peter, perhaps emboldened by his restoration to leadership (Morris 1995: 774), inquires about the beloved disciple’s destiny, Jesus’ answer is, in effect, that this is none of his business. Peter (note the emphatic σύ, sy, you) must follow Jesus. Yet
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 601). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Yet Jesus does not see a need to justify his different treatment of the “disciple he loved” here. Peter is called to pastoral ministry and martyrdom, John to a long life and strategic, written witness—both callings are vital and equally important (Carson 1991: 681). In a personal lesson on discipleship, Jesus tells Peter to be content with his own calling and to leave that of others to him. This, in turn, becomes a general lesson relevant also for the readers of the Gospel.11
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (p. 602). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”
Still, fervor (on the basis of this rumor) undoubtedly increased as John’s advancing age made it seem likely that Christ’s return had to be imminent. John therefore felt it necessary to correct the misunderstanding.
John emphasized the conditional, “If I want him to remain alive until I return,” saying in effect that this was not Jesus’ intention.
Osborne, G., Philip W. Comfort. (2007). Cornerstone biblical commentary, Vol 13: John and 1, 2, and 3 John (p. 303). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
III. Conclusion (24-25)24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. 25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
The concluding verses, 21:24–25 (esp. 21:24), should be read in the context of 21:20–23 rather than in isolation (Carson 1991: 683). The beloved disciple, the one who was close to Jesus at the last supper (21:20), is in fact the one who wrote the entire Gospel. His “staying” (rather than dying a martyr’s death, as did Peter) enabled him to do so and thus served an important purpose, just as Peter’s martyrdom did (Ridderbos 1997: 671). Hence, 21:24 is to be understood as part of the answer to Peter’s question in 21:21: “Lord, but what about him?”
Köstenberger, A. J. (2004). John (pp. 602–603). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
RELATED MEDIA
See the rest →
RELATED SERMONS
See the rest →