John 21

1-14: This event is similar to when Jesus called the disciples to full time ministry (Luke 5:1-11). We also know from the synoptics that Jesus told the disciples that He would meet them in Galilee (Mark 14:28). I believe that these are examples of John supplementing what we find in the other gospels. This forms a bookend of sorts to Jesus’ ministry.

15-19: Peter denied Jesus three times. Here Jesus gives him the opportunity to experience restoration. Jesus gives Peter the chance to boast that He loves Jesus more than the other disciples, but Peter now knows that he is just as susceptible to failure as they are! Then Jesus asks Him two more times, “Do you love me?” Peter responds that Jesus knows all things, so He knows that Peter loves Him. I also think that something else is going on here, but I am in a minority regarding this understanding. There are different words for love here. Some think that John is just using synonyms for variations sake. I believe that He is actually recording what was said, and I take it a little differently than most. Jesus starts out asking if Peter loves Him, and He uses the word agape. We tend to think of that as a special, self-sacrificing love. But I think Peter takes it differently. This is the love you can have even for your enemies. Peter’s wants to stress that his love is greater than that! Peter says that he loves Jesus like a brother! Jesus changes to that same word the third time He asks Peter, “Do you love me?” I believe that He’s acknowledging Peter’s affection and devotion. Peter is supposed to show his love for Jesus by feeding those who believe in Him. Feeding refers to teaching them the word, both by sharing the gospel and instructing them how to obey once they’ve believed.

20-23: John makes sure that we understand a rumor going around about him isn’t true! Jesus isn’t necessarily going to come back before John dies. These verses remind us that we’re supposed to be concerned about our own walk with God, and not be preoccupied with how He deals with others.

24-24: John concludes his gospel by reminding us that there is so much more that could be written about Jesus. He’s tried to give us more of the story, but there is still more that could be told!

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