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John Chapter 21:10-25

Memory verses for this week: Prov 30:7  Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Prov 30:8  Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Prov 30:9  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. 

Introduction:   In last week’s study, we saw the Lord appearing to the disciples for the third time as Peter and several of the other disciples decided to go fishing.  They had toiled all night and caught no fish.  Jesus beckons to them from the sea shore and tells them to cast their nets again on the other side of the ship, and they brought up so many fish that they could not lift the net into the boat.   They, and we, learned that when God is the one providing, many times the blessings are so great that we can not contain them.  This week we conclude our study of the book of John.  

I.  Jesus Feeds the Disciples 

John 21:10  Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

John 21:11  Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

John 21:12  Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. 

We see that the disciples bring in the fish they had caught by dragging in the net with the smaller boat that was on the ship they were fishing in.   Simon Peter grabs the net and pulls it to land, and they had caught 153 fish, while they on their own had caught none.   We mentioned last week that many times on our own, we will not do well.   But let Jesus come on the scene or let God be the one that empowers our work, and we can accomplish great things.   It truly goes back to our earlier teaching on the vine and the branches.   Without Jesus, we as branches can do little.  But when our power comes forth of God, we are not limited.   As the bible says, “All things are possible with God.”  Jesus now tells the disciples to come and dine with Him.  Earlier from the ship, only John had recognized the Lord, but now all of the disciples recognize who it is that is speaking to them. 

John 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

John 15:5  I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:6  If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

John 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 

John 21:13  Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

John 21:14  This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. 

As we look back over our past few studies, we know that Jesus came to the disciples the first time when they were assembled together in a locked room on the first day He arose from the grave.  He had talked with Mary Magdalene, and told her to go and tell them that He would soon appear to them.  And later that day, He came to all of them. (Except for Thomas, who doubted and refused to believe.) 

John 20:13  And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.

John 20:14  And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

John 20:15  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.

John 20:16  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.

John 20:17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

John 20:18  Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

John 20:19  Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

John 20:20  And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

John 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 

We know that by Thomas not being there and doubting, God used this as a great opportunity to witness to everyone who hears the Gospel.  After eight days had passed, Jesus appeared unto them all as we saw at the end of Chapter 20. 

John 20:26  And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

John 20:27  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

John 20:28  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

John 20:29  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John 20:30  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

John 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.  

II.  A Test of Peter’s Love 

John 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 

The Lord calls Peter, the one who at times faltered and failed, to service.  Jesus wants Peter to feed His lambs.   A closer look at these verses finds in the Greek and Hebrew, the word Jesus used to ask Peter if he loved Christ was “agapao”   The definition of the word according to my Greek dictionary in my computer was:  “from  agan (much); to love (in a social or moral sense):--(be-) love (-ed). “  True love, the agape love, is total and unfaltering love that God gives to man.    

When Peter replied, in the Greek, he used the word “phileo”   Phileo’s definition was “to be a friend to (fond of [an individual or an object]), i.e. have affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling; while agape love is wider, embracing espec. the judgment and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty and propriety: the two thus stand related very much; the former being chiefly of the heart and the latter of the head); spec. to kiss (as a mark of tenderness):--kiss, love.   In other words, Peter replied that he loved Jesus more like a friend would love another friend.   Not near the emphasis that Jesus’ love was to us. 

In the English language, we have only one word that translates to love.  In the Greek, they had three words.  “Agapao” meaning a true and noble perfect love (God’s love for man), “Phileo” meaning the love of man or brotherly love or friendship, and “eros” denoting the sexual love between a man and a woman.  The Greeks had degraded this word and made “Eros” a god as well as Venus and Cupid.  Unfortunately in this degraded world we live in, many have no knowledge of any other type of love due to the portrayal of bad movies and advertisements being driven by sexual innuendoes.   I want to make it clear that this type of love was never mentioned in Jesus’  discussion with Peter.  

John 21:16  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 

I find it quite interesting that Peter denied the Lord three times, and now Christ asks him if he loves

Him three times.   Sometimes we need to be questioned and asked if our love is true.  If we are not careful, our heart can grow cold and we can be in church going through the motions and not living the life that honors and glorifies the Lord.  Jesus makes Peter affirm his devotion to Him three times.  And when God repeats anything in the Bible, it has reason and meaning.   For the lambs to be fed was very important to Jesus.   We have discussed before how much the Church means to Christ.   The Jewish nation was called the wife of God, and the church will one day soon be the bride of Christ.   God wants us to be found perfect and without spot when Jesus returns to take us out of this old world. 

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 

It is interesting that the second time Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, he asks if he loves Christ with “agape” love.   Each time, when Peter replies, he replies with “you know I love you” using the “phileo” love or the friendship type love.   When Peter was grieved at the third question, Jesus did use the “phileo” type love.   Peter may not have been able to love at this great level, and honestly I don’t know if any of us can.   “Agape” love is pure and perfect, and we in our human form are so imperfect that perhaps it is beyond our grasp.  But we should keep trying to understand that kind of love and show it one to another.  A love that seeks not to be rewarded, but gives and gives with no expectation of anything in return.  That is the kind of love God gives to us.   As the song says, “Oh for the love of the One up above, oh for the love of God.”   Jesus gives a direct command to Peter, and he was to feed the lambs and the sheep.   When you think about it, Peter lost his commission in a way around a little fire of coals the night the Lord was betrayed.  And here, sitting around a campfire of coals, Jesus gives him a new a new and direct commission.   Every preacher, every pastor that is called of God to be in the ministry, are all to feed the Lord’s lambs.  Not only are we to reach the lost, but we are to disciple them.   Their soul may be secure when they get saved, but they have a life to face.  And that life can be a life of joy, peace and happiness when they know how to live for God.  If not, it can be a life of failures and disappointments as Satan leads them down a primrose path of one mistake after another.   Only by growing in God’s word daily can we hope to fight off the fiery darts of Satan.  Satan does not want a young Christian to be discipled.   A lamb on its own is easy prey for wolves.  But with a shepherd around that lamb, it can be protected and nourished.  That I is God’s plan.  Every believer should immediately present themselves for baptism, giving them the opportunity to be in a local church.  And then, get involved in Sunday School, church, and every bible training program available.  And not limit it to that.  On your own, day after day, dig into the Word and find deeper meaning.  Three hours of nourishment a week will not suffice for seven 24 hour days.   Compare the spiritual food to the physical food we eat.   Eat once or twice a week and see how strong you’ll be.   Same principle applies without spiritual food. 

Remember the words of Jesus when he had fasted forty days and Satan came unto Him. 

Luke 4:2  Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

Luke 4:3  And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.

Luke 4:4  And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 

Note not only are to know some of the word of God, but it says “by every word of God.” 

In J. Vernon McGee’s commentary, he said that if it had been left to him, he would have chosen “Faith” as the supreme word of Christianity.   But it was not left to Him, and God chose “love” to be the most important of the three.  Love and charity are the same meaning in this verse. 

1 Cor 13:13  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


So as Christians, we are to be known for our love one to another.  If people do not know you love them, you need to make them understand.  It is a command from our Lord.  Sometimes we may be misunderstood, but if we do what Jesus tells us to do, everything works out right in the end. 

John 13:34  A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 


III.                A Task for Life 

John 21:18  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.

John 21:19  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 

Jesus starts out on this using words that Peter could relate to concerning being young and old.  We start out as babies and can’t do a thing for ourselves, and we grow and become independent over time.  But when we get old, many times we have to look to others for help.   In our Christian walk, when we see things accurately, we know that Jesus carries us many times when we can’t make it on our own.   I wonder how many times just this week that we were protected by God in various ways that we may not even know.   Jesus was forewarning Peter that he would have to soon die for the honor and glory of God.   A lot of us like to be involved in Christianity when we get to benefit from all the good that we receive of God, but when He asks of us to suffer, many times we want to run and hide.  We need to be willing to go forth and be used, and be willing to go that last mile of our life for God if He so chooses.  Along the way, be sure you will be attacked and maligned, because they misunderstood Jesus and ultimately hung Him on the cross to die.  How much less do we deserve when we really stand up for the Lord.  God help us to be willing to go as far as He wants us to go. 

Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Rom 8:18  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Rom 8:19  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

Rom 8:20  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,

Rom 8:21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 

John 21:20  Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?

John 21:21  Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?

John 21:22  Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 

We see Peter now ask the Lord what will become of John.  He knows that he will die for the cause of Christ, but he now asks about John.  He basically tells him that what happens to John is not of consequence to Peter.  We need to realize that each of us will face different things in this life.  God may choose one of us to suffer and die for His glory.  He may let 10 of us die in the upcoming week, or may let the majority live until He calls us out with that shout of the archangel.   But whatever our lot is in life, we need to realize that it has been planned and made by the Sovereign God of the universe, and it is the best for us.  We may not realize it, and when bad things come our way, we may not always deserve them, but it we keep looking to Jesus, we have the victory. 

John 21:23  Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?

John 21:24  This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true

Some of the disciples jump to conclusions and say John will never die until the Lord comes back.  That was not what Jesus said, although John was one of the few who did not die a martyr’s death in the early days of the church.  Some people say they will not serve the Lord until they get all their questions answered.  If that is the case, most likely they will never ever serve God, because I’ve been studying this blessed book now for over 30 years, and I sure still have a lot of questions.  The one thing I have learned, is “Trust God”.   Nothing He has ever done to me has ultimately worked out for my own good.  It may have brought sleepless nights or great pain, but in the end I’ve been a better Christian because of all the things that have happened to me.  If you are honest and look deep into your heart, I think you’ll have to admit the same.  Sometimes the results are bad and we deserve them for wrong actions on our part.  But many times, we are falsely accused just like Jesus was in His ministry.  But if that is what has happened, be sure that you have a greater reward on the other side. 

1 Pet 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

1 Pet 3:13  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

1 Pet 3:14  But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

1 Pet 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1 Pet 3:16  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1 Pet 3:17  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.


John 21:25  And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. 

What a testimony to the life of Jesus Christ.  If everything that he did was written, not all the books could contain them.   I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to sitting one day at the feet of Jesus, and hearing about some of those “unwritten things” that He did.  But while we wait for His return, let us all be busy spreading the Gospel, and doing good works to God’s honor and glory..



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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.




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