Summary: The story of the risen Jesus meeting a group of disciples by the sea of Galilee; restoring Simon Peter publicly; asking him if he loved him and showing him the death he would one day die for Him.

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Bob Marcaurelle

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Message 9

Annual Sermons: Vol. 3

Sermon 32 John 21:15

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(A Stewardship Sermon)

Jesus asked some important questions. When the first two men stepped up to become His disciples, He turned and asked, “What are you looking for?” (Jn. 1:38). He still asks that of would-be disciples. But if Jesus came to earth today and stood before His church, before this church, I believe His eyes would move up and down these pews and with each look at each one of us, He would ask that question He asked Peter that morning on the shore of Galilee - Simon (John, Mary, Bob), do you love me?

When we truthfully say we love the Lord that settles a lot of issues and answers a multitude of questions. It means there are a lot of places I will not go and a lot of things I will not do. For example, if you are rude and critical to me, my love for you would probably not keep me from being harsh in return.

Retaliation is as natural to me, and to most of you, as falling off a greased log. But if I can think of the Jesus who loves us both, I can many times respond with a healing word. My Lord in His Book tells me, “A soft answer turns away wrath,” and if I love Him I will want to please Him and obey Him. I know what Luther meant when he said, “Love God and do as you please!,” because if we love Him what we please is to please Him.

No more powerful, life changing question, then, can be asked of the Christian than this one. Vance Havner says revival is “falling back in love with JeĀ¬sus.” If he is right, and he is, we should all stand in Simon’s shoes. First we find. . .


The background of this question was Peter’s failure; his threefold denial that he was a follower of Jesus; his cowardice and his cursing. The last few days and weeks of Simon Peter weren’t too impressive. He had stood in the Lord’s path to the cross and asked Him not to go. He acted in love but instead of asking Jesus to get outside the will of God, he should have asked for the privilege to die with Him. In the garden he drew his sword and resorted to violence. In the upper room he boasted that he would never deny his Lord. Then, warming himself by the world’s fire, he denied Him three times. It broke his heart and he gave up on himself and decided to go back into the fishing business.

So, in light of the last few days, it was logical for Christ to call him by his old name, Simon, and not Peter, the rock, and ask him, “Do you love me?”

We will never understand this question if we see it as an interrogation. This whole scene is positive, not negative. The storm clouds of doubt were not casting a shadow over these two men, the sunlight of a new day was dawning. It was a cleansing question from the viewpoint of Jesus to Simon and of Simon to Jesus. In it Jesus was saying two things we who gail need to hear - I love you and you love me.

Jesus was saying here, “I still love you! I am asking this because I want you back.” Jesus does not kick His wounded soldiers. He picks them up, forgives them and chooses to use them.

You know, I believe I am like many of you. I have failed the Lord more since I was saved than before. I have responded with the harsh word. I have neglected to make a visit or have made it out of sheer duty rather than love. I have preached something I have trouble practicing. But friends, Jesus has never failed me. Times without end I have crawled into my payer closet, broken because of failure and have come out singing and shouting because the Lord has showered me with His love.

And Jesus does not do this by just showing us that He still loves us but also THAT WE STILL LOVE HIM.

That is exactly what Jesus was doing here. He is saying, “You still love me!” Some of us, who feel more “Spirit empty” than “Spirit filled” wonder at times if we love the Lord.

A pastor called upon an elderly member of his church and she, painfully aware of her shortcomings, said, “Oh, pastor, I’m afraid I don’t love the Lord. How could I be this way and love Him?” The wise pastor took a sheet of paper and wrote upon it the words, “I do not love Jesus Christ.” He handed it to the lady and told her to sign it. She said, “Pastor, I would die before I would sign that.” Sometimes we need to know if the Lord really loves us.

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