Some Thoughts On John 21: 9 – 19
Today I want to take a look at another encounter that Jesus had with the disciples after the resurrection…
Verses 9-11 – Jesus was being hospitable – He had the fire going, fish on the fire and bread present. Plus he invited the disciples to bring some of the fish they just caught. Plus the net was not torn with so many fish.
Verse 13 – The last time Jesus ‘took the bread and gave it to them’ was at the Lord’s Supper. And then of course before that He took the boy’s bread and fish and multiplied it to feed thousands. Symbolically here Jesus is getting ready to feed thousands, millions with the bread of life. Likewise He was getting ready to send out the disciples to be ‘fishers of men’, but not them alone but thousands and millions from every generation from them until now to do the same thing.
Verse 15 – First note that Jesus did not rush immediately to having this conversation with Peter. It was after they had eaten and relaxed some that Jesus brought this up.
– 1st time – Jesus – do you love (agape) ME more than these? (these who? – Perhaps the other fishermen that Peter was used to dealing with, the disciples who were sitting around listening to this), or maybe the fish and the fishing lifestyle? Peter responded – yes Lord I love (phileo) you.
Peter did not technically answer Jesus’ question.
Feed and tend to MY lambs
Verse 16 – 2nd time – Jesus – do you love (agape) ME? Peter responds – yes Lord I love (phileo) you.
Shepherd, (feed, care and lead) MY sheep
Verse 17 – 3rd time – Jesus – do you love (phileo) ME? Peter responds – yes Lord I love (phileo) you.
Feed and tend MY sheep
Words are not enough to show that we love Jesus. It takes actions. Actions motivated by a love of Jesus. Actions that contain love for the people you are with.
Jesus is basically saying if you love me then feed, tend, shepherd and care for MY sheep. Jesus was telling a man who had made his living by fishing that he was now going to be doing something entirely different. There is a difference between fish and sheep.
Plus there is a difference between the way you care for sheep and fish. Peter probably did not have a hatchery so he hadn’t cared for and shepherded fish. You could treat fish roughly too. With fish, you put down your nets, you caught them, you separated them by size or type, you sold them, you cleaned them and you ate them, you mended your nets, you folded and organized your nets, and you repeated the process every day, day in and day out.
The sheep that Jesus referred to were more than fuzzy little, wool covered animals that ate grass and followed each other around a field all day. The sheep that Peter was going to care for and lead were the two legged variety – people! People that needed to know Jesus’ love, people that needed salvation, people that needed to grow as believers and to tell and show others that same love that they had experienced.
Peter’s actions and lifestyle were going to be drastically changing. Jesus had a job not only for him to do, but for all of the other disciples present at that little sea side gathering.
With the 3rd answer Peter reaffirms his love for Jesus as many times as he denied Jesus.
But even more than this, the message behind the message from Jesus to Peter was this: The love that you have for me will drive you to preach, to heal, to teach, to lead, to shepherd, to be imprisoned, to suffer, and ultimately to die for me.
Verses 18, 19 – Jesus referred to what lie ahead for Peter. Read these verses!
Also note 1 Peter 5:2 – 4 and what Peter has to say about being a shepherd.