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John 21





There is a lot of really cool stuff happening in this chapter as Jesus deals with and restores Peter.  Remember Peter denied Jesus three times the night of Jesus’ arrest.  So, let’s just get right to it.

In verse 3, Peter and his friends had fished all night and caught nothing.  There was a very similar episode that occurred some three years earlier that is recorded in Luke 5.  No fish had been caught that night either.  In both episodes, Jesus told the fishermen to throw their nets back out and in both stories, there was an overwhelming number of fish caught.  None of that was lost on the group of fishermen.  In verse 7, John told Peter that it was Jesus who was standing on the shore.  Peter jumped in and swam to Jesus.

In verse 9, when the disciples got to shore, they discovered Jesus had started a charcoal fire.  In John 18:18, that was the exact kind of fire Peter warmed himself by the night he betrayed Jesus.

When you get to verses 15-17, we find where Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.  That, by the way, is the number of times Peter had betrayed Him.  But thanks to the English language, we really miss the significance of this conversation about whether Peter loved Jesus or not.

The first two times that Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love Me”, Jesus used the word agape for love.  That, of course, is the Greek word for God’s love.  It refers to a love that is an act of the will.  It is a sacrificial love, a serving love, and, even a submissive love.  It is not a natural love but a supernatural choice to love.

The first two times that Peter responded, “You know that I love you”, he used the word phileo for love.  Phileo is an important love.  It is often described as a brotherly love.  It may actually be the greatest, deepest love a human can have apart from God.  In other words, Peter may have confessed the most love he could have had for Jesus at the moment.  

But when we get to the third time Jesus asked, “Do you love Me”, Jesus changed the question.  This time He used the word phileo.  I don’t think that means that Jesus lowered His standard one bit.  I am quite convinced that phileo was all that Peter could muster at this point in his life.  Agape would not be possible until Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came to indwell the disciples on Pentecost.

So, why did Jesus use the word Agape the first two times?  One reason, I think, is Jesus was setting a standard so high that it would be impossible for Peter to reach it on his own.  He would have to have the Holy Spirit in him.  Another reason, I think, is Jesus allowed Peter to do what Peter could do on his own until Peter wasn’t on his own any more.

This really is an important and interesting conversation that speaks volumes to those who are willing to listen.

And there you have it.  We have completed the Gospel of John.  I hope you have enjoyed this journey.  I hope you have been encouraged through this journey.  Tomorrow we start another book of the Bible.  I hope you will stay on board with us as continue through the Scriptures.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 20





If the Gospel of John were any ordinary biography, it would have ended after chapter 19.  If it were any ordinary biography there wouldn’t have been anything else to say after the person of the biography had died.

But this is no ordinary biography.  It is not an ordinary biography because its subject is no ordinary man.  It is not an ordinary biography because the story of the man continued in a most miraculous way after His death.  Indeed, His story continues even today.

It is important to remember that the Christian faith is based upon two facts.  One of those is the empty cross.  The other is the empty tomb.  

The cross must necessarily be empty because the wages of sin is death.  Because it is Jesus had to die on the cross to pay the debt for and absorb the wrath of our sin.  If Jesus were still alive on the cross, we would most certainly still be in our sin.

The tomb must necessarily be just as empty.  If Jesus is still in the tomb, He is still dead.  If He is still dead, He has not been resurrected.  If He has not been resurrected, He is not who He said He was.  If He is not who He said He was, then we have believed a gross lie.  And, as the Bible says, we are most miserable people.  

But because the cross and the tomb are both empty, we have undeniable proof of the salvific work that Jesus accomplished, that only Jesus could accomplish.  What a Savior!  O what a Savior.

Of course, throughout the ages there have been many theories put forth to undermine the reality of the resurrection.  One of those is the Jewish religious leaders came and took the body.  Of course, this is ludicrous.  The last thing they would have wanted is anyone believing that Jesus was actually raised from the dead.

Another theory was the disciples came and took the body and hid it.  This one falls apart on a couple of levels.  One, if they did that, why did they go to the tomb on that Sunday morning to look for the body?  Two, with a Roman guard stationed at the tomb, it would have been impossible for the disciples to defeat those soldiers, get into the tomb, and steal the body.

A third theory is that Jesus didn’t actually die but “swooned” on the cross.  This theory goes one to say that he somehow revived while in that tomb, was able to get that huge rock rolled away from the tomb’s entrance, and escape with the Roman guard seeing Him.  That is just as ludicrous.

All of that leaves us with just one possibility.  Jesus is indeed alive.  He was raised from the dead.  And His resurrection indisputably proves His identity.

I would leave you with this.  Notice that as the chapter progresses, Jesus appeared three different times.  The first was an appearance to Mary and her tears of grief were turned to tears of uncontainable gladness.  The second was an appearance to the disciples locked away in the upper room and their fear was turned to uncommon fearlessness.  The third was an appearance to Thomas and his doubt was turned to double assurance.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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