Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for April 15, 2018
To feast on Christ’s presence and Word and share the feast with others
John 21:15-25 (CEB)
15 When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. This was the one who had leaned against Jesus at the meal and asked him, “Lord, who is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw this disciple, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain until I come, what difference does that make to you? You must follow me.” 23 Therefore, the word spread among the brothers and sisters that this disciple wouldn’t die. However, Jesus didn’t say he wouldn’t die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what difference does that make to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies concerning these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If all of them were recorded, I imagine the world itself wouldn’t have enough room for the scrolls that would be written.
“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15)
As we look at today’s text, there are three questions I have about Jesus’ question to Peter. What did He mean when Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
There are three possible answers, (1) more than fishing equipment and a return to a fishing career (2) more than you love these other disciples (3) more than these other disciples love me?
Remember, it was Peter that said after the resurrection, “I am going fishing.” (John 21:3) It was also Peter that told Jesus at the last supper, in Luke 22;33 “Lord, I’m ready to go with you, both to prison and to death!” Jesus reminded Peter, you will deny you know me three times before the cock crows.
All of these events are the reason for the questions ask by Jesus to Peter. Jesus had promised Peter and others that “He will make them fishers of men.” Now He was about to commision them and especially Peter for this ministry.
The first time Jesus ask the question is the only time He uses the phrase “more than these” Was there a hand gesture that went along with the question? Did Jesus wave his hand toward the boat and nets or the other disciples.
After the third time Jesus ask the same basic question Peter becomes annoyed, why? Does Peter now realize that he had denied knowing Jesus three times as Jesus had predicted. And now Peter knows that Jesus knows that did in fact happen.
Verse 18 takes Peter further down the rabbit hole, Jesus is now talking about Peter’s death. Peter immediately tries to change the subject to John, what about this guy?
Jesus assures Peter one has nothing to do with the other, Peter you are called to follow me and take care of my flock. What I decide for John has nothing to do with your call. (I am paraphrasing)
John writes his closing thoughts on the life of Jesus and lives to a ripe old age and is an important part of early Christianity, becoming the Bishop of Ephesus.
Peter according to the Roman Church becomes the Bishop of Rome. According to Christian tradition, Peter was crucified in Rome under Emperor Nero Augustus Caesar. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus.
The time and commitments we make to Jesus are important, but also knowing we have been forgiven sets us free for joyful obedience.
My hymn for this week is “I Know who Holds Tomorrow”