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Summary: An exegetical study of Christ’s reinstatement of Peter as told by John, focusing on the lessons it holds for us today.

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Demonstrating A Love for Christ

Scripture Ref: John 21:15-22

Additional References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament

1. Introduction

a. We love to sing the hymn, “Oh, How I Love Jesus”; but how much do you truly love Him? Would you answer this question the same way as Peter when Christ asked him?

b. Read John 21:15-22

c. Prior to this passage, Peter has denied Christ three times before His crucifixion. After the crucifixion, rather than continuing the ministry Jesus had started, Peter, apparently returns to his old profession—fishing. (EXPLAIN)

(1) Seven disciples were present: Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel, James, John, and two others. They had gone fishing.

(2) They were unsure of what they should do or be, so they returned to what they knew—fishing. They were ready to return to their old life.

d. The NIV titles this passage Jesus Reinstates Peter, but Christ ultimately teaches two lessons through this passage we can all use.

(1) We can still serve even after we fail Him.

(2) If we love Him we will do three things:

(a) We will take care of those “spiritually” entrusted to us.

(b) We will go where He leads and do what He says.

(c) We focus on what He has called us to do.

e. This morning I want to focus on the second part of that lesson.

2. If You Love Me…

a. Read:

In the book, No Bad Dogs, by British dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse, she says dogs understand love better than we do. She writes, “In a dog’s mind, a master or a mistress to love, honor, and obey is an absolute necessity. The love is dormant in the dog until brought into full bloom by an understanding owner. Thousands of dogs appear to love their owners, they welcome them home with enthusiastic tail wagging and jumping up, they follow them about their houses happily and, to the normal person seeing the dog, the affection is true and deep. But, to the experienced dog trainer this outward show is not enough. The true test of love takes place when the dog has got the opportunity to go out on its own as soon as the door is left open by mistake and it goes off and often doesn’t return home for hours. That dog loves only its home comforts and the attention it gets from its family; it doesn’t truly love the master or mistress as they fondly think. True love in dogs is apparent when a door is left open and the dog still stays happily within earshot of its owner. For the owner must be the be-all and end-all of a dog’s life.” The real test of our walk of Faith isn’t seen in our work or activity, or even in our theological purity. It’s found in this: when we have an opportunity to wander away, to disobey, to leave His presence, do we choose instead to stay close to Him, to abide in Christ, to obey? (Contributed by Greg Yount, SermonCentral Pro)

b. Reread verses 15-17

c. After denying Christ three times, Peter is given three opportunities to proclaim his love for Christ.

d. Verse 15

(1) Question: Do you truly love (agapao — God-like love) me more than these? Answer: You know that I love (phileo—love of a friend or brother) you.


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