Bible Study “The Finale” April 3-9

Week Eight: April 3 – 9

Read John 21 (The Addendum)

At a later time, another editor added chapter 21 which is evident in the Greek with new words and phrases.  Let us take quick look at what this chapter tell us: Jesus appears to the seven disciples and charges Peter to feed and love the church.

There seems to be some parallel between the story of the catch of 153 fish after a night of being skunked in the Sea of Tiberias (which is another name for the Sea of Galilee) as told by Luke 5.  The context around the stories are different but the miracle catch is similar.  Like chapter 20, in this post-resurrection account, they do not recognize Jesus immediately.  The story has some color as well with Peter’s nakedness and jumping into the Sea.

Like the miracle of the fish and loaves, this story’s meal includes fish and bread.  Jesus has a fire waiting by shore to cook a meal for his disciples.  He distributes the food to the disciples, first the bread and roasted fish.  Using the number 3 once again, this was the third time Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after rising from the grave (21:14).

What follows is Jesus question directed to Peter: Do you love me?  The first two times Jesus asks this question he uses the Greek word for friendship love.  On the third questioning Jesus uses the Greek word for God-like love (agape).  Each time Peter said yes it parallels the three times he denied being a follower outside Pilate’s headquarters.

After the affirmative response of Peter, Jesus commanded Peter to “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my Sheep” and “Feed my sheep.”  Peter is to become the shepherd of Jesus flock in a similar way that Jesus was the Good Shepherd (John 10).  Peter had arisen as a leader in the church and this was his responsibility.  The wolf of Rome was still at the door trying to destroy the church for worshiping Jesus as Lord and not Caesar is Lord.

In 21:18, a prophetic word was given describing how Peter would die for this faith. There appears to be some tension as well between Peter and the beloved disciple (John).  Basically, it is not your business Peter to know the future for other followers.  If John lives a long life, so be it.

Jesus did a lot of other ministry and work that is not written in the gospel, so much so, that if it were, libraries would be needed to hold all of these stories (21:24-25).

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you? Why is it important to you?
  2. What do you find of value in the story of the miracle catch of 153 fish?
  3. How would you answer Jesus’ question about love: do you love me?
  4. In what way do you have a heart for sheep distant from God and his church? How is God using you?  Are you willing to be used by God to tell others about Jesus and the value of his gathered church?