Vs. 1, “Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way.” It’s important to note the Sea of Tiberias was another name for the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were instructed earlier to meet him in Galilee (Mark 16:7, Matthew 28:7). There seems to be a split with scholars on whether or not Peter and the disciples were right in returning to their previous occupation of fishing (vs. 1-8). Some suggest that is why there were not successful (vs. 3). In the end, we see Jesus helped them miraculously catch a net full of fish! Peter by now has gained the reputation of being the one to act first, excitedly swims the 100 yards to shore to get to Jesus (vs. 7-8). What a privilege for the fisherman to come eat breakfast that the Lord Jesus prepared for them (vs. 9-14)! Upon finishing the meal, Jesus turns to Peter and begins a most memorable dialogue (vs. 15-17). Three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and three times Peter confirms his love. Question: Why three? Remember, Peter denied Jesus three times. Question: What is the purpose of this question? Not only was Jesus reminding Peter that he must become a fisher of men, but he must also help lead the church by shepherding the flock. Jesus then gives Peter the reminder and perspective that following Him will also lead to death by martyrdom. Indeed, Peter will lay down his life for the Lord (John 13:37). Naturally, Peter wonders about others and points to John’s fate (vs. 20-21). But, Jesus reminds him that it is of no concern and importance for us to know the fate of others (vs. 22-23). I love the ending of the Gospel of John as we have a certain amount of lighthearted hyperbole concerning Jesus’ exhaustive ministry (vs. 24-25). Indeed, we have only a very small account of the amazing life of our Lord Jesus!
Regarding application…Do You Love Jesus? Vs. 17, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Certainly, most of us would quickly answer, “Of course, yes I Jesus.” Yet, Peter stands as an example to us all about love, restoration and purpose. Peter boastfully stated he would lay down his life before Jesus’ arrest. His failure wasn’t a lack of love as much as it was fear and a lack of mature faith. Don’t misunderstand, Peter should not be frowned upon. He was a instrumental part of leading the early church! God would use him so powerfully! I know in my own life my claims for loving Jesus have been quite lofty. But, when I have failed Him, I also find much solace in Peter’s response. He did not allow his failures to keep him from loving the Lord and seizing God’s “second chances.” Loving Jesus is far more than our private and personal relationship with Him. Loving Jesus is loving His church and loving the lost. Brothers and sisters, this is our purpose too! Don’t worry about what others are doing or not doing like Peter was about John. Let the words of Christ ring in your heart to love Jesus and others deeply today!