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
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
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
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
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.
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
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…”
you do indeed love me then commit to the care of those I love, my little
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
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
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.
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.
third question brings grief to Peter as the pressure grows
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.
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.