Easter Season Devotion
April 20, 2023
Jesus reinstates Peter
John 21:1-14; 15-17
“Do You Love Me?”
The verses below are from John 21. However, I thought it best to give you the passage in (mostly) its entirety. In this way, you can better relate to Jesus’ reinstatement of Peter.
Remember, after Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Him three times. After His resurrection, in front of some of the other disciples, Jesus reinstates Peter. He (Jesus) not only restores Peter as the leader of the disciples but also as the head of the church.
This passage is sometimes called “The second miraculous catch.”
“Afterward (This being, after Jesus appeared to Thomas), Jesus appeared again to his disciples by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So, they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”
When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
So, Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”
None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.“
Again, Jesus said, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times. Peter is well aware that Jesus’ three questions of him parallel his three denials of Him.
The first time Jesus questions Peter, He says,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“The phrase, “more than these” can have at least three meanings as follows: 1. Do you love me more than these other disciples love me?”
2. “Do you love me more than you love these other men?”
3. Do you love me more than you love these other things (that is, fishing and all that goes with it)?”
(The People’s Bible Commentary, John, Gary P. Baumler, Pp. 270-271)
When Jesus asked Peter the first question, He used the Greek word for love: Agape. Agape love is a sacrificial and purposeful love of mankind.
Earlier in the book of John, we see Peter as an assertive and boastful man. But now, speaking to Jesus face to face after he had denied Him, Peter is humble. He simply says, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.”
Jesus replied to John, saying, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus may have meant children, as they are often referred to as lambs in the Bible. Or, He may have meant, “All of my disciples.”
Then, a second time Jesus speaks to Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
You’ll notice Jesus asked Peter the same question again, but He omitted the words “more than these.”
Once again, Peter’s answer is not boastful but humble. “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.”
Jesus replies, “Take care of my sheep.”
Now, not only has Jesus charged Peter with feeding Jesus’ followers (The Word), but He (Jesus) also wants Peter to take care of them. This includes things like guidance, protection, and comfort.
Finally, Jesus asks Peter again, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
In this final question, Jesus uses a different meaning for the word love. He doesn’t ask for agape love; instead, Jesus asks Peter if he believes Him to be a beloved friend.
Once again, Peter replies humbly. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus is telling Peter to continue to feed His sheep.
Jesus had forgiven Peter for denying know Him. If He did this for someone who denied Him three times, then we should feel secure in knowing He forgives us for our sins too.
Everything Jesus did during His earthly ministry was done for a specific reason. Every word He spoke, every action He took or didn’t take, fulfilled His reason for being here. He was here as a living sacrifice. And His disciples, we are to continue carrying His message of repentance, grace, and faith to the next generation.
That, too, is our job. To answer the call and bring the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to the world, so all might be saved.