Summary: The prerequisite for service is our love for Jesus.
John 21:15 -- 22. 09/24/03
The last time we were together, we talked about the great catch of fish. Some of the disciples had been out fishing all night and caught nothing. As they were coming to shore, they saw a man standing on the shore. The man asked if they caught any fish? The answer was no. Jesus said cast the net on the other side and they did catch 153 fish. Then Jesus asked that they bring some of the fish.
Now in John 21:15 -- 22 is what we will study tonight. Verse 12 means to break your fast. We get our word breakfast. After the breakfast of fish and bread, Jesus engaged Peter in a conversation, which also amounted to another commissioning of Peter for the Lord’s service. This meeting made it plain to Peter that he was going to have a great responsibility in the ministry. And actually, that is what this lesson is about, service. Our personal service for the Lord.
First of all I want us to notice THE PREREQUISITE OF SERVICE. 15, 16 -- 17.
Jesus begin the commissioning of Peter about asking him three questions, “lovest thou me.” Asking the question three times paralleled the three times Peter had denied Jesus. The repetition of the question bothered Peter and it is evident in what the Scripture says of him after the third question. “Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest thou me.”
Now Jesus started with Peter where we all need to start. The prerequisite for service is our love for Jesus. Loving the sheep and love feeding are important necessities for good service, but nothing will compensate for the lack of love for Jesus.
An example of this is found in the book of Revelation. There was a letter to the Church of Ephesus who was doing work. They had the reputation of not putting up with false teachers. They hated evil and loved preaching. But the Lord says I have somewhat against you. You have lost your first love. They forgot the reason they were doing the works of the ministry was supposed to be their love for the Lord. Man’s problem today is that he doesn’t love God as he should love God. When a man loves God, he has no trouble loving his neighbor.
So, love for Jesus is the prerequisite for service. Then we see THE PRECEPTS FOR SERVICE.
Jesus not only addressed the love Peter was to have for the Lord but also addresses a few important precepts regarding his duties. They have to do with feeding the sheep and following the savior.
After Peter answered each question about love, Jesus commanded Peter to feed His sheep. It wasn’t enough for Peter just to say he loved the Lord, it must be more than just talk. If he truly loved the Lord, then he must serve the Lord by feeding his sheep.
I guess you noticed who the flock belongs to. Jesus said feed my sheep. The flock belongs to the Lord. Some pastors need to hear that when they refer to the Church as my Church. It also tells us who we are accountable to. Both the pastor and the congregation will answer to the Lord about how they conduct themselves in regards to the Church.
When Jesus told Peter he was to follow him, look at versus 19, 22.
To say a pastor serves the Church is only part right. The pastor’s primary duty is to follow the Lord. I was not called by a Church to preach the gospel. I was not called to preach the gospel by some denomination or institution. But my call to the gospel ministry was given to me by the Lord.
Next, we see THE PREDICTION ABOUT SERVICE. Look at versus 18 -- 19. This talked about Peter being a faithful servant but also a martyred servant. His death would glorify God.
Now most people want to die the righteous death but during their life, they don’t think that much about living for God. The glorify God in death, we must glorify him in life.
The language Jesus used about Peter’s death suggest death by crucifixion. Of course we know that is how the death of Peter occurred. Tradition says that Peter was crucified upside-down because he said he was unworthy to die like Jesus.
Lastly, we see THE PROBLEM IN SERVICE. Versus 20 -- 22. After Jesus made the prediction about Peter’s death and had given Peter the first of two follow me commands, Peter evidenced a problem that plagues many in serving Jesus. He got his eyes off Jesus and on others.
Peter looked around and saw John. He asked, Lord what about this man? What will happen to John in the future? How will he die?