The text for this lesson is John 21:1–19.
- We are all like Peter in our words and actions, denying our Lord and weeping bitterly over what we have done. We are in need of the same comfort that Peter received—the comfort of sins forgiven and the assurance that even though we are faithless, Jesus will remain faithful.
- Law: God demands that I love Him and none other solely and completely. In my sin, I worship whatever pleases me the most at the time.
- Gospel: God’s love is everlasting and ever faithful; when I deny Him, He acknowledges me for Christ’s sake.
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Discussion Points and Questions
- In today’s lesson, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love Me?” Discuss how love is portrayed in contemporary books, television, movies, and music. What are our culture’s primary definitions for love? What impact does a culture’s view of love have on its basic institutions?
- Regardless of how our culture defines love, what matters most is how God defines it. If the Bible is the Word of God (and it is!), then it defines reality for us. Explore how God expects us to love Him and others by reading Deuteronomy 6:1–9; 10:12–13. What is involved in this love, and what do God’s expectations reveal about us?
- What is the nature of God’s love for us? See John 3:16; 13:1; 15:12–14; Romans 5:6–10.
- Luke 5:1–11 recounts a miraculous catch somewhat like John 21:1–14. In both cases, the abundant catch of fish represents the future ingathering of disciples of Jesus who will come to faith by the Holy Spirit’s work through the apostolic ministry, as Jesus promised Peter: “From now on you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10). Yet Peter did not become a fisher of men, much less a sheep-feeder, overnight. He failed his Lord many times before and after Christ’s resurrection. Summarize Peter’s track record on the basis of Matthew 16:13–23; 26:30–35; John 18:10–11, 15–18, 25–27.
- What brought Peter to repentance and kept him from falling away completely? See Luke 22:31–34. According to Hebrews 7:25, how is our salvation preserved?
- What moved Jesus to forgive and reaffirm Peter as an apostle? What similarities exist between John 13:36–38 and John 21:15–19?
- Jesus teaches Peter that His love for Jesus will be expressed in action: “Feed My lambs. . . . Tend My sheep. . . . Feed My sheep” (John 21:15–17). Peter would be given the privilege of serving the sheep who belong to the Good Shepherd (John 10:1–21). According to Acts 2:38–42, how did Peter fulfill Christ’s commission to catch men and feed and tend His sheep?
- What does 1 Peter 5:1–4 teach about ongoing feeding, tending, and shepherding in the Christian church? How is it that pastors are at the same time equal to all other Christians but also called to exercise oversight?
- According to ancient traditions not found in the Bible, St. Peter was martyred by crucifixion in AD 68. Jesus had predicted that Peter would be a martyr and glorify God through his death (John 21:18–19). Then Jesus said to Peter, “Follow Me.” How does Acts 5:40–42 describe Peter taking his cross from Christ and following, even through suffering? What does Peter teach Christians about suffering in 1 Peter 3:14–18; 4:12–19?
- “Do you love Me?” Jesus asked Peter. He asks us the same question. According to John 14:21, 23–24, what will we do if we love Jesus? What commandments and words does Jesus refer to? See John 14:1; Matthew 11:28–30; 26:26–28.