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Lesson # John 21:15-19
Study Material - John 21:15-19
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
John 21:15-19 15 So [oun] when [hote] they had dined [aristao] , Jesus [Iesous] saith [lego] to Simon [Simon] Peter [Petros] , Simon [Simon] , son of Jonas [Ionas] , lovest thou [agapao] me [me] more than [pleion] these [touton] ? He saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Yea [nai] , Lord [kurios] ; thou [su] knowest [eido] that [hoti] I love [phileo] thee [se] . He saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Feed [bosko] my [mou] lambs [arnion] . 16 He saith [lego] to him [autos] again [palin] the second time [deuteros] , Simon [Simon] , son of Jonas [Ionas] , lovest thou [agapao] me [me] ? He saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Yea [nai] , Lord [kurios] ; thou [su] knowest [eido] that [hoti] I love [phileo] thee [se] . He saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Feed [poimaino] my [mou] sheep [probaton] . 17 He saith [lego] unto him [autos] the third [tritos] time, Simon [Simon] , son of Jonas [Ionas] , lovest [phileo] thou me [me] ? Peter [Petros] was grieved [lupeo] because [hoti] he said [epo] unto him [autos] the third [tritos] time, Lovest [phileo] thou me [me] ? And [kai] he said [epo] unto him [autos] , Lord [kurios] , thou [su] knowest [eido] all things [pas] ; thou [su] knowest [ginosko] that [hoti] I love [phileo] thee [se] . Jesus [Iesous] saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Feed [bosko] my [mou] sheep [probaton] . 18 Verily [amen] , verily [amen] , I say [lego] unto thee [soi] , When [hote] thou wast [en] young [neos] , thou girdedst [zonnumi] thyself [seautou] , and [kai] walkedst [peripateo] whither [hopou] thou wouldest [thelo] : but [de] when [hotan] thou shalt be old [gerasko] , thou shalt stretch forth [ekteino] thy [sou] hands [cheir] , and [kai] another [allos] shall gird [zonnumi] thee [se] , and [kai] carry [phero] thee whither [hopou] thou wouldest [thelo] not [ou] . 19 [de] This [touto] spake he [epo] , signifying [semaino] by what [poios] death [thanatos] he should glorify [doxazo] God [theos] . And [kai] when he had spoken [epo] this [touto] , he saith [lego] unto him [autos] , Follow [akoloutheo] me [moi] . KJV-Interlinear 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Tend My lambs.' 16 He said to him again 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, 'Shepherd 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 all things; You know that I love You. 'Jesus said to him,' Tend My sheep. 18 'Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.' 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow Me!' NASB
Two of the three common words used for 'love' are used in this passage, agapao and phileo. The first represents the principle of love or doing that which is the right thing to do. The second word, phileo, is generally used for a friendship or an emotional type of relationship. The third word which is not used here is more for intimate settings as between a man and a woman in marriage.
Now we have three questions asked by Jesus of Peter. They all ask whether Peter loves the Lord. In the first two, Jesus uses agapao. In the third question Jesus switches to the word which Peter uses in all three responses, phileo.
We have three questions which refer to attitude. We have three commands which Jesus gives Peter - tend my lambs, shepherd my sheep, and tend my sheep. Then Jesus tells Peter a little about his future, that he will grow old and be led by others to places where he would not want to be led, but while young, he will be able to come and go as he pleases.
Then John explains the reason for this conversation, and it is to signify the manner of Peters death.
Tradition has it that Peter was be crucified in Rome, but there is little if any documentation that Peter was even in Rome let alone crucified. Tradition also has it that he was crucified upside down, but again no verifiable documentation exists that confirms this. Actually, just like the rest of the apostles, which we studied in detail several months ago, there is no documentation concerning most of their deaths. There are lots of stories, rumors and such, but God kept this information out of the history books probably to keep people from elevating them to some higher place of glorification than is necessary.
Jesus Christ is the issue in life, not any person who served or was with him. But typical of the world, they have been set in stained glass windows, hung on necklaces, and are even prayed to by some. Which is totally wrong of course. All spiritual phenomena, activities, etc. are directed to God through Jesus Christ, and never, never ever through any other person, angel, animal, planet rock, idol etc., etc., etc.
Peters manner or circumstance of death is not the issue in this passage however. It is his attitude toward Christ, toward God, toward Bible doctrine verses his attitude toward the world, which is the issue.
Here Peter was earlier sitting beside the sea, wondering what to do. Then he decides to go fishing on a whim. Her stays up all night and catches nothing. Now Jesus puts the question to him - 'What is important to you?'
Jesus gives him two choices, 1. Christ, doctrine, his spiritual life, his responsibilities in life, or 2. His (Peters) friends, their feelings, their needs, the world in general.
Peter answers with the emotional response. And Jesus tells him what he needs to do.
Jesus repeats the question.
'Do you love (agapao) Me more than these?' 'Are you more interested in doing that which is right because it is right and expected of you by God, or ... are you only interested in doing what is right because it happens to 'feel' right at the moment.'
Peter answers with an emotional response. And Jesus tells him what he needs to do.
Then Jesus repeats the question but changes it a bit.
'Peter, are you following me only because it feels right and is convenient for the moment, but when things turn south in your life, will you turn against Me?'
Peter uses the same response. He knows no other way to answer. Why? Because he has a lot of growing up to do in his spiritual life. Peter is frustrated which is characteristic of a spiritually immature believer.
Now, Peter is going to grow up eventually and His attitude will change dramatically such that, he will be able to face a difficult time in his old age, even the possibility of a difficult death by execution. But for now, he is not ready. Jesus has given him some assurance that he will indeed grow old, so he does not have to fear that he will be arrested at any moment now, and then be executed in the very near future. When the time is right, then God will bring Peter through his most difficult hour, which by then will not be difficult for him at all because he will be prepared.
In the mean time, Peter has a job to do. It is not sitting on the beach and fishing occasionally, but it is growing up himself in his spiritual life and then getting out and evangelizing the world.
So too, all of us have our responsibilities in life. Our first responsibility is to God and that means that we listen, learn and basically give our attention to His Word. Our second responsibility is to ourselves, to grow up in our spiritual life, to be responsible in life, to advance to spiritual maturity, such that God will use us in some capacity for His intended purpose, whatever that might be. Our third responsibility is to others, to promote or support the teaching of Gods Word in some fashion, and to support charities in helping those who are in need.
In all instances, God makes adequate provision such that we can carry out your responsibilities. God is capable of doing anything and everything, and without any help on our part, however He graciously allows each one of us to be positive and make the right decisions in life from our own volition.
We can all sit on our little beaches of life and engage in whim after whim (that is what we can call any decision which places our worldly desires ahead of God), or we can get our act together and prepare ourselves for greater things. Things that God has prepared for us and things which God will carry us through, and things for which God will greatly bless us. And, God has given each one of us the freedom to make the choice as to which path we prefer to follow.
Peter knew his choices. Peter knew the commands from God. Peter knew what was expected and the repercussions of his decisions. So do we. God has a purpose for each of our lives, and if we advance in our spiritual lives, then we will not leave this world until God says it is time to leave it. God controls history.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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