Dr. David Wheeler
John 20:21 (NKJV)
21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me,I also send you.”
Focal Passage – John 21:1-19 Holman Christian Bible
21 After this, Jesus revealed Himself again to His disciples by the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed Himself in this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 “I’m going fishing,” Simon Peter said to them. “We’re coming with you,” they told him. They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 When daybreak came, Jesus stood on the shore. However, the disciples did not know it was Jesus. 5 “Men,” Jesus called to them, “you don’t have any fish, do you?” “No,” they answered. 6 “Cast the net on the right side of the boat,” He told them, “and you’ll find some.” So they did, and they were unable to haul it in because of the large number of fish. 7 Therefore the disciple, the one Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tied his outer garment around him (for he was stripped) and plunged into the sea. 8 But since they were not far from land (about 100 yards away), the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. 10 “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught,” Jesus told them. 11 So Simon Peter got up and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish—153 of them. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 “Come and have breakfast,” Jesus told them. None of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to the disciples after He was raised from the dead.
Jesus’ Threefold Restoration of Peter
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”
“Feed My lambs,” He told him.
16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”
“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”
“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!”
Here are some highlights –
John 1:40-42 – Jesus calls Peter and recognizes his great potential.
When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John.[ad] You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”).
Matthew 14:22-33 He walked on water – but fell to the flesh and took his eyes off of Jesus and in his own strength, began to sink!
27 Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.” 29 “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Matthew 16:13-20 He confessed Jesus as Messiah:
He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. 15 “But you,” He asked them, “who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah (Christ), the Son of the living God!”
Peter then continued and blew it in Matthew 16:21-23:
21 From then on Jesus began to point out to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day. 22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to You!” 23 But He turned and told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns, but man’s.”
. . . Peter’s mouth and his mind were disconnected from his heart – they wrote a check that his heart could not cash. Talk is cheap, knowing about Christ without personally and fully connecting to His eternal plan emasculates our faith and results in religious pride without personal surrender. Bottom line, for wisdom to be effective – it must be connected to understanding. Again, Peter displayed Charisma over character!
Luke 9:28-36 – Mount of Transfiguration
30 Suddenly, two men were talking with Him—Moses and Elijah. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of His death, which He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. 32 Peter and those with him were in a deep sleep, and when they became fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who were standing with Him. 33 As the two men were departing from Him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it’s good for us to be here! Let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said.
34 While he was saying this, a cloud appeared and overshadowed them. They became afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 Then a voice came from the cloud, saying:
This is My Son, the Chosen One; listen to Him!
He was at the Transfiguration – he sought outward sacrifice over inner surrender. Peter is like the person recording their experience on social media without really living it out, or the guy missing the moment because he is too concerned in impressing others with his social posts. Remember . . . Jesus always desires mercy over sacrifice!
John 13:36-38 Prediction that Peter would deny Christ
33 “Children, I am with you a little while longer. You will look for Me, and just as I told the Jews, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ so now I tell you . . . 36 “Lord,” Simon Peter said to Him, “where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later.” 37 “Lord,” Peter asked, “why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You!” 38 Jesus replied, “Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times.
John 18:1-11 – Peter cuts the ear off of the High Priest’s Slave, Malchus
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. (The slave’s name was Malchus.) 11 At that, Jesus said to Peter, “Sheathe your sword! Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given Me?”
John 18: 15-18; 25 -27 Peter Denies Christ Three Times
16 But Peter remained standing outside by the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the girl who was the doorkeeper and brought Peter in. 17 Then the slave girl who was the doorkeeper said to Peter, “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” “I am not!” he said. 18 Now the slaves and the temple police had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold. They were standing there warming themselves, and Peter was standing with them, warming himself . . .
25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “You aren’t one of His disciples too, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!” 26 One of the high priest’s slaves, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you with Him in the garden?”27 Peter then denied it again. Immediately a rooster crowed.
John 20:1-10 Peter goes to the empty tomb
Now we come to John Chapter 21 . . .
1. It always begins with the Resurrected Lord
Too many people try to cheapen Easter and the Trivialize the resurrection.
In spite of the World’s Attempts to Trivialize Christianity and to Marginalize Christians . . . Make NO Mistake that from the Immaculate Baby to the Miraculous Risen Savior, the Message is the same . . . It is all about Hope and Restoration!!!
Joy to the World:
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
2. How did Peter respond seeing the empty tomb, the first thing he did was return to what he knew – He fished!
Fishing was Peter’s default mode. In spite of Jesus having already twice revealed Himself to the disciples in His resurrected state, he appears to be so caught up in himself that all he can do is default back to his previous self.
What is our default? We all have a default!
3. Then it all changed when Peter was again confronted by the Risen Jesus:
15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him.
16 A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.
4. What should we notice: Peter was desperate and broken – he was finally moldable and willing to surrender – this is always the KEY!
I love what Jim Cymbala says in his book, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire:
“I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can’t resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him”
5. It was then that Peter finally spoke the eternal words that transformed his life, “Lord, you know everything!”
6. Here is the KEY Crossroads Principle for today . . . Life begins when you do not care if you die, you just care the Christ is glorified and that His gospel is proclaimed regardless of the price . . . in life or in death – We must willingly surrender everything under His authority!
By the time we get to Chapter 21, Peter is broken
John 21 – the apex of the Peter story, after denying Christ three times, he is exiled to the loneliness of his self imposed grief – he lacked courage, belief, he lacked true understanding! He was finally so miserable and afflicted that he was willing to admit that Jesus as God “knew everything!” The transfer of ownership was finally complete. He would now become the man who preached powerfully at Pentecost, who stood up to the religious elite and faced almost certain death in Acts 4, to become the leader of one of the greatest movements of prayer and truth in history! Would he die, YES, but not before he finally lives!!! He was home – he was redeemed! As Jesus called him out in John 4, he would now begin “fishing for men!”
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”