Summary: Following the Master can be best seen by 1) Loving Christ more than everything else (John 21:15–17), by 2) Being willing to sacrifice everything for Christ (John 21:18–19a), and by 3) Following Christ (John 21:19b–25).
In R.B. Fleming’s book, Peter Gzowski: A Biography (Dundurn Press), Fleming carefully read Gzowski’s writings, studied his tapes and interviewed his friends. Running down Gzowski’s stories, he found again and again that they were exaggerated or even imaginary. Yet, Gzowski was a first-class magazine writer and editor, an author of books, a tireless campaigner for literacy and, above all, a radio host. He died in 2002, at 67, a famous victim of nicotine poisoning. (http://www.nationalpost.com/complicated+Canadian+romancer/3427171/story.html#ixzz0xpeVlV6U)
When we sin, it is a tactic of the devil to argue that, having sinned, we have forfeited our chance for a successful and happy Christian life and that we might as well go on sinning. Like most of the devil’s statements this is untrue. Though we sin, upon repentance, we have nevertheless not forfeited our chances for a full Christian life, nor dare we go on sinning. Instead, ("Following the Master") is that of repentance and restoration. This is the point of the story of Peter’s restoration by Jesus in John 21. Peter had failed the Lord in his hour of apparent need. He had abandoned him and had compounded his cowardice by a threefold denial that he had ever known him. Yet Jesus loved Peter, and Peter knew that he loved Jesus (Boice, J. M. (2005). The Gospel of John : An expositional commentary (Pbk. ed.) (1635–1636). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books.).
Following the Master can be best seen by 1) Loving Christ more than everything else (John 21:15–17), by 2) Being willing to sacrifice everything for Christ (John 21:18–19a), and by 3) Following Christ (John 21:19b–25).
Following the Master can be best seen by:
1) Committed Christians who Love Christ More than Anything Else (John 21:15–17)
John 21:15-17 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep. (ESV)
Peter learned the hard way what it means to love Jesus Christ. He had enthusiastically declared his unfailing devotion to Him more than once. At the Last Supper, “Simon Peter said to [Jesus], ‘Lord, where are You going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.’ Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You’ ” (John 13:36–37). A short while later he boldly proclaimed, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away” (Matt. 26:33). Yet when "Following the Master" was on the line, Peter’s self-confessed love failed and he openly denied three times that he even knew Jesus. His vaunted courage proved to be nothing but empty talk when facing a threatening situation.
Please turn to back to John 14
Peter’s failure highlights the biblical truth that obedience is the essential evidence of genuine love. If we love God, it will be seen by more than just words. The reason why that is possible, is because of the resources that God promisses from the Holy Spirit:
John 14:15-21 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (ESV)(cf. 15:10).
Jesus knew that if Peter was to play the crucial role in the early church that He had chosen him for, he would need to be restored. Peter needed to understand that although he had forsaken Christ, Christ had not forsaken him (cf. Rom. 8:31–39). The Lord had evidently already appeared to Peter privately (Luke 24:34; cf. 1 Cor. 15:5), but Scripture does not record any details of that meeting. Whatever may have happened in Peter’s personal encounter with the risen Lord, since his denials were public knowledge, he needed to be publicly restored. The other disciples needed to hear Peter’s reaffirmation of his love for Christ and Christ’s recommissioning of him, so they would be willing to loyally support his leadership.