02 May 2017

BSF 2016-2017: John 21

John ends his Gospel with an interesting story – an appearance by Jesus to the disciples.

Seven of the eleven disciples were at the Sea of Galilee. They were obeying Jesus’ instructions to wait for Him in Galilee. They decided to go fishing all night. At first, they didn’t catch any fish. Then early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t recognize Him. He asked if they had any fish. When they replied in the negative, He instructed them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. When they did this, they brought in 153 fish.

Then John recognized that the figure on the shore was Jesus. Peter jumped in the water and swam to Jesus. The other disciples hauled in their catch in the boat. When they landed on the shore, they saw a fire with fish and bread on it. Jesus invited them to have breakfast with Him. He invited them to participate by adding their fish to the meal. They certainly didn’t eat all of them but probably sold many of them to earn money since they were going to head out on a mission for Jesus and needed some financial support.

After feeding the disciples physically, Jesus fed them spiritually. He restored Peter to a right standing with Him. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Peter answered “yes” three times. Previously Peter denied Jesus three times; now Jesus gave him three chances to confess his love for Him.

Jesus commanded Peter to feed His lambs, take care of His sheep, and feed His sheep. Lambs could represent new believers. Sheep could represent established believers. Jesus reinstated, restored, and recommissioned Peter. Because Peter’s sin was public, Jesus publicly restored him. Peter’s discipline prepared him for feeding Jesus’ sheep.

Next Jesus predicted Peter’s death. Jesus said Peter would die by crucifixion. Tradition tells us that Peter indeed was crucified. But because he didn’t think he was worthy to die in the same manner as Christ, Peter was crucified upside down.

Jesus had this conversation with Peter, and John was following them. Jesus again commanded Peter to follow Him. “What about him?” Peter asked about John. Jesus said what He does with John is not Peter’s concern. This reminds us to stay focused on our callings from God and follow Him instead of being concerned about God’s calling on others’ lives. We should not be distracted by ourselves, others, or our circumstances. We should care for one another but remain focused on Christ and His work for us.

Things to Think About
  • Jesus calls all of His disciples to be fishers of men. Being a fisher of men requires courage, faith, and persistence.
  • Where has Jesus directed you to spend time and effort fishing for people?
  • Our love for Christ must be our motive for serving Him. If we love Christ, we must love His sheep too.
  • God has individualized plans for His children. He has common purposes for all of us, but He also has unique purposes for each of us.
  • Are you seeking to live out God’s purpose for you? Are you comparing your purpose to someone else’s?
  • Are your eyes on Christ or someone else?

This Week’s Memory Verse
He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you. ” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:17 NIV