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November 1, 2015

"JESUS AND PETER"

TEXT: John 21: 15 - 19
READING:
 2 Peter 1: 1-21

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SUBJ: Our Lord’s interrogation of Peter, the care that He displayed for Peter and the special commission given Peter and us with respect to the care of the sheep.

AIM: That we might attain to the humility elicited by our Lord and displayed in Peter as we contemplate the need of grace for devotion and service.

INTR: It is evident that Peter had been disconcerted since learning that the lone figure on the shore was indeed the Lord. He had been in anticipation of the needed reconciliation after the denial.
1. We need not sensationalize nor minimize the importance of this event as we remember that it was recorded for posterity and thus we are to make application of it.
2. It is further to be seen that the Lord had carefully orchestrated things as to best suit the occasion and to be of benefit to Peter.
3. While Peter expected castigation, the Lord was there to restore Peter to the office that would long endure with him.

THESIS: Confession before the Lord is an important aspect of our salvation experience – not merely of sin but of the necessity to even understand our own feelings and limitations.

I. The first question (v. 15)
1. There were two issues being addressed in this confrontation the first of which was the assertion of Peter that he would never deny the Lord: Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Matthew 26:33.
1) The implication was that he loved the Lord more than any others – including the disciples assembled there with him.
2) There are several theories as to the meaning here such as fishing and the gear, or even the disciples as the object of his affection – he had gone with them rather than wait on the Lord.
3) Peter was being charged with comparing himself to the others and asserting that he was more loyal.
4) The question searched the heart of Peter and forced him to defer to the omniscience of Christ – Yea, Lord thou knowest…
2. It is of interest that Peter did not use the stronger form of love that Jesus was using and that was probably because he was uncertain as to his capability
1) He knew that he had great affection for the Lord and along with the others acknowledged Him as Lord
2) He seemed to sense that he was not capable of rendering a proper assessment of his own feelings. (Recall John Newton’s “Tis a point I long to know…”
3. The commission – “feed my lambs…”
1) If you do indeed love me then commit to the care of those I love, my little one!

II. The next questions (vv. 16-17)
1. Peter may have thought the matter ended, but he had denied the Lord three times after a bold assertion and now He would confess his love three times before his brethren.
1) He had warmed himself at a fire that night when he denied that Lord – a fire with no provision and no warming of the heart
2) Now he had sat at a fire prepared by the Lord and had been fed by Him as well
2. He again answered with an expression of strong affection rather than the love of value used by the Lord. This time there was no comparison to the affection of the others.
3. He again defers to the knowledge of the Lord and appeals for confirmation from Him.
4. Feed my sheep!
1) Some have thought in terms of three kinds of people such as age groups or levels of maturity.
2) It may in fact be that all three (lambs, sheep and dear sheep) have reference to characteristics we all manifest – lambs in need of protection, sheep in need of direction and dear sheep in need of constant nourishment and provision.
5. A third question brings grief to Peter as the pressure grows
1) No doubt at this time that the denial is in view
2) But, the Lord would press his assessment of the affection he professes – an uncomfortable position and so Peter again defers to the omniscience of Christ.

III. A prophecy of proving for Peter (vv. 18-19)
1. The use of “verily, verily” impresses the importance of what is coming upon us.
2. The words were as much as to say you have been able to move about in a way of self-determination up until not and that will continue.
1) But, you said you would be willing to die for me and when you are old you will have opportunity to prove that
2) The girding here seemed to have reference to crucifixion and the helpless estate he would in which he would find himself.
3. Tradition and secular writers have it that Peter was crucified in Rome – at his request upside down.
4. But, in the meantime – Follow me! The message for us all.