So this is it, the final chapter and the conclusion for us before we break for 2 weeks. I’m almost certain that this is my 5th or 6th read-through of the Gospel of John and my first time teaching it all the way through; and I must say, because of this study, this has been the best year of my life bar none (tho in fairness past years have never been too special or spectral by any means but anyhow) so thank you all for your continuous support and encouragement it really does mean the most to me.
Like, I said its a 2-week break. So be thinking about how this study, or myself, can improve in any way at all. Also, leaders please be ready for one of y’all to teach sometime in late May. I should have our Ephesians study planned out by the end of April at the latest so y’all should have plenty of prep time beforehand, and I will send all that info out to you when it’s ready. Anyhow, on to our study.
Read the text.
So some scholars have attempted to argue that this chapter shouldn’t be in this Gospel; because they seem to think that this portion is so different from the previous 20 chapters of John. As per usual they’re wrong; because you can think of the chapter as an Epilogue with the comments on Peter as well as John’s emphasis on the meaning/interpretation of the text. So let\’s dive in.
We know from Luke’s gospel that they were given orders from Jesus to wait at Galilee for Him; it seems here the disciples are simply in a holding pattern while waiting for Him.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but it\’s really interesting to me how when people will have a “face-to-face” type encounter with God/Jesus and not know who it is.
It makes me wonder how often God will be showing Himself to us or working in our lives and we just never see it or know it.
So with that, let me ask this question: How do we see or know God in the day-to-day mundanity of life? (Or to phrase it another way in more Cultural Christian terms: How do we feel the movement of the Holy Spirit in our lives?)
I think John might have the answer to that question in 21:7. He knew it was the Lord based on His word and the truth thereof. Likewise, with us. The more we know of the bible the more in begins to affect and change our hearts so that we are more and more “in-tune” (if you will) with God and the movement/working of His Spirit within our everyday lives.
There’s definitely a lesson to be learned here; what do y’all think it might be?
We must not only be considered with doing things for Jesus but also with/under His power as well. Even our very best efforts are nothing without Him working with us. We could not raise ourselves from the deadness of our sin; we likewise cannot cut off our right hand without Him; let alone save souls or bring about a revival.
Let\’s focus on Peter here for a minute. Think of another time when someone put on clothes/covered themselves to meet the Lord.
I think here we may have a repeat of Genesis 3; where our first parents put on “clothes” to cover themselves. Do y’all know why they did that?
To cover their shame/guilt. I think Peter is doing likewise here. He still feels guilty over his 3 rejections of his Lord. And the Lord is about to rectify that guilt.
Where else has fire been mentioned in relation to Peter?
At his rejections. Like I said, a moment of redemption is about to transpire for Peter.
Brief aside: In preparation for this study, I listened to a sermon by the late R.C Sproul entitled “Breakfast by the Seashore” which sounds like a perfect name for a little mom-pop restaurant on the beach. So should any of you feel so included to ever open a restaurant I highly recommend “Breakfast by the Seashore” as its name. And I will be one of your most frequent customers and, beyond Sushi, I don’t even care much for seafood. Though I do request that you have a smoking section. Anyhow, now back to the study.
At verse 13, whats that remind y’all of?
Communion, obviously. The follower of Christ gathered around eating in the presence of the Lord. And that’s just what we do at our communions here at service. We celebrate and enjoy the presence of the Lord with us in our life. (Not that we believe the bread and wine/juice contain Christ at all. But He is still none the less there with us at communion).
What do y’all think this passage is about?
Peter had a 3-fold rejection, he must now have a 3-fold redemption.
For this section, the English language fails us. Let me explain:
In 21:15 & 16 Christ uses the word “agapo”, another form of the word “agape”. Here, it would mean to “love in the heart”
Whereas in 21:17 Christ uses the word “phielo” which would be to love in the head/love founded in and springing forth in fair.
Given this, why do y’all think Jesus might have used these words in this order in His discussion with Peter?
This is something God has been showing me lately: We must love Christ in the heart before we love Him in the head. That is, we must be given a new heart, as one prophet puts it, a heart of flesh- able to feel and have its affections for God stirred up before the head can even engage in any kind of goodwill/love toward God.
In short, Christ is to be the object of affection within the heart before there can be any affection within the head. (affections in the heart for the person of Christ Himself before any affection for the study (and love of studying) of Christ.)
Now, with that said, how do we gain this affection/love in heart for Christ?
Answer: How else do you grow in love for anyone? Be with them. IE Communion with Him.
\”Love (Noun and Verb):
and the corresponding noun agape (B, No. 1 below) present \”the characteristic word of Christianity, and since the Spirit of revelation has used it to express ideas previously unknown, inquiry into its use, whether in Greek literature or in the Septuagint, throws but little light upon its distinctive meaning in the NT.
\”Agape and agapao are used in the NT
(c) to express the essential nature of God, 1Jo 4:8.
\”Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God\’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1Jo 4:9, 10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Rom 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cp. Deu 7:7, 8.
\”Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, Jhn 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1Jo 2:5; 5:3; 2Jo 1:6. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.
\”Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to \’all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,\’ Gal 6:10. See further 1 Cor. 13 and Col 3:12-14.”
-In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential \”love\” in them towards the Giver, and a practical \”love\” towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver.
-The context itself indicates that agapao in the first two questions suggests the \”love\” that values and esteems (cp. Rev 12:11). It is an unselfish \”love,\” ready to serve. The use of phileo in Peter’s answers and the Lord’s third question, conveys the thought of cherishing the object above all else, of manifesting an affection characterized by constancy, from the motive of the highest veneration.” (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G25&t=ESV).
What’s it mean when Jesus says, “feed my sheep”?
If communion with Him is how we are to grow, and we grow physically via sustenance, then I think it reasonably follows that we are feed/grown by knowing/seeing/taught/Jesus Christ.
So what’s Jesus talking about in the rest of verse 18?
Peter’s dead. Given the juxtaposition of the command “feed my sheep” and John’s commentary “…He said this to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God” I think from these verses we can conclude that Peter was killed/martyred for his teachings on Christ. But we know that from basic Church history anyhow.
Talk to me about this: what does it mean to glorify God in death?
“for me to live is Christ and die is gain” (Phil. 1:21) IE We live for Christ now and reap those benefits/treasures afterward.
Given this whole passage, what do y’all think John’s main point here is?
The importance of finding the meaning in the text. (That is, the importance of letting the text speak for itself).
That said, how does one find the meaning of a text?
We read the text in order to discover the author’s intent. John had a purpose for writing this Gospel; we, the reader, are therefore tasked with the duty/privilege to find that intent and let it take effect within our lives. John, here, ends how he began; emphasizing the importance of truth.
What do y’all think John means here?
It seems he speaks of the glory/honor that Christ is so full of that the world doesn’t have space to fully speak of.
Have y’all ever heard the argument that “oh well, Heaven will be boring so I meant as well go to Hell and have fun”?
I have. There\’s a reason eternity is eternity. Because it will simply take that long to exhaustively know the glory of Christ. Our Wednesday night studies are, at their very best, a mere stepping stone to that glory, that communion that we will have with Christ forever.
So to conclude: Let us live excited, joyful as we are heaven-bound in this life; knowing that the Father is not slow in keeping His promises to us. He promised a Messiah to redeem us, seek us and to keep us and to treasure us and we continue to treasure Him in our everyday lives.