Read John 21: 15 – 25

Have you ever failed at something?  Have you ever failed at something when you were dead certain that you would never fail at that?  Well, Peter knew such failure.  You read of it in John 18: 1 – 27 and we looked into that failure in Week 9, Day 2 of our study.  So many questions come to my mind as I read John 21.  Did Peter go back to fishing because he knew, after his failure, that he had no place as a disciple of the Lord?  Was he more subdued?  He was willing to go fish alone (John 21:3).  Did he think he only deserved to be alone?  But the others went with him.  Peter did have God-given leadership gifts!  People followed.  I wonder if that scared him now – post failure? 

In our reading today … other questions surface.

Question #1:  Why did Jesus ask the same question 3 times?  There are different words used for “love” in this exchange.  Jesus uses agapao first … then agapao again … then phileo.  In Greek agapao is the word for God-like love … the most supreme form of love …  the selfless kind of love.  Phileo means love for brothers … love for others … brotherly kindness.  Peter uses phileo in all three of his responses to Jesus.  Commentators are divided about the significance of such word analysis.  In Greek you see these differences … in Aramaic, the common language of the day … there were no such differences.  So perhaps the questioning 3 times has another significance.  Perhaps Jesus asked Peter the same question 3 times to take him back to the the 3 times he had denied his Lord.  Perhaps it was Jesus giving Peter 3 opportunities to heal, to confirm his loyalty and faith.  Peter responded to the first question with boldness … typical Peter … “of course I love You!”  Same response second time.  At the third question, Peter submits himself, finally, to the wisdom and knowledge of God.  His SELF-CONFIDENCE had to be exchanged for GOD-CONFIDENCE.  Now he is ready.  Now the Lord can commission him to the task of church building. 

There are two possible responses to our failures … we can wallow in self-pity over the failure … or we can arrogantly deny that it happened or take any responsibility for its happening.  God wants neither response from us.  He would have you confront the failure, in all its pain, and allow the Lord to heal and bring relief.  Do you need to talk to Him about a failure in your past that is coloring your present?  If you do not allow His healing touch … it will spread its ugly colors into your future.  Take it to Him today … now.  No more waiting or hiding.

Question #2:  The second question that interests me from these verses is the question Peter asks Jesus.  After Jesus explains to Peter some things about his future, Peter wants to know about John … “what about him?”  Was it just ordinary curiosity?  Perhaps it was a competitive spirit that existed between the two of them?  Jesus’ answer is so enlightening!  In essence, Jesus says, “It’s none of your business.”  The lesson that screams from the page at me is … Stop wasting time speculating about others!  Stop comparing yourself … or your ministry … or your circumstances to others!  That includes others that you love.  Stop comparing! 

Jesus’ message to Peter … and to me … and to you … is:

Your business, Peter … your business, Gail … your business, (your name) … is to follow Me!
Your business, Peter … your business, Gail … your business, (your name) … is to be faithful to Me! 

There will be one final posting to conclude our study of John.  It will be Week 12 – Day 3.