Summary: Jesus help us to answer the question, "Why am I here?" as He restores Peter.
Jesus, the God-man: Gospel of John
“Saved to Serve”
Introduction: Several years ago I taught a drama class for a home school group. One of the things I taught them is the actor always needed to know his motivation in a scene. In other words, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” Otherwise a person will act as if they are just performing an action or going through the motions with no reason.
This is an important question for us to consider as Christians too. “Why am I saved?” What is my motivation? Is it just so I can go to heaven? If so, why am I still here? Why didn’t I disappear at the moment of conversion? Jesus will help us to discover the answer to that question of motivation as He restores Peter and reminds him and by extension to us as well that we are “saved to serve”.
1. Love is demonstrated by action. (vv. 15-17)
Breakfast is over. It’s time for an important conversation.
“Simon, son of Jonah” – This is a formal address. He is referring to him by his old name and not his new name. Peter meant “rock”, but he had not acted like one recently. Didn’t you always know you were in trouble when your parent called you by your full name?
v. 15 – “Do you love Me more than these?” These what?
Fish? Do you love Me more than you do fishing for fish? Valid question. He did stop waiting so he could fish.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Revelation 2:4
Other disciples? Do you love Me more than friends? Great question! Do you love Me more than friends or family?
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26
Do you still think that you love Me more than these men do like you originally thought?
Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” Matthew 26:33
I think the last one is probably correct. That was the beginning of Peter’s downfall, but I think a combination of all of these are good too.
Do you love Me more than friends, family, hobbies, job, sports, and even self?
“If you love Me then feed My lambs.” In other words, if you love Me then demonstrate it by action, not just words. Talk is cheap. Show it!
Note they are Jesus’ lambs. These were the youngest, weakest, and most vulnerable. Children or new believers.
Jesus is the Chief Shepherd. We are undershepherds.
Peter continues this thought in 1 Peter 5.
Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5:2-4
v. 16 – Same question. Same response. This time Jesus tells him to tend (lead or govern) His sheep. Not lambs this time.
v. 17 – Peter is grieved because Jesus had asked him the third time. Why? It was a reminder of his denial of Jesus. He had denied three times and now Jesus had asked three times. There is grace and forgiveness for every denial.
Peter appeals to Jesus’ deity and omniscience and tells Him, “Look in my heart and see that I love you. I don’t know if I can love you sacrificially so I am not going to boast and say that I do, but I do love you like a friend.”
“Okay then show it by action and feed My sheep.”
"Jesus Christ asks each one of us, not for obedience primarily, not for repentance, not for vows, not for conduct, but for a heart; and that being given, all the rest will follow." –Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: John
Does He have your heart? Do you love Jesus as a friend? Then demonstrate it by serving Him. Put it into action. Minister and care for His sheep.
Repentance leads to a renewal of His call. He had not been written off.
2. There is a price for following Jesus. (vv. 18-19)
“Most assuredly” - verily, verily, truly, truly. - PAY ATTENTION, Peter!
“When you were younger, you took care of yourself and did whatever you wanted, but when you get old you will stretch out your hands, be tied up, and you will go where you do not want.”
v. 19 - Herein is a promise or a prophecy that Peter would get old and then he would die for Jesus.