~ Click here to read today's Scripture on Bible Gateway ~
~ Listen to today's Scripture with The ESV Bible ~
John 21 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible in so many ways! In some ways it is because of a beautiful modern day book written by the late Henri Nouwen titled "In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership", which is based on this chapter and Jesus asking Peter 3 times if he loves him. Has anyone else read this book by Nouwen? In this book Henri writes about the end of his life ministry where he is a spiritual director at a L'Arche Daybreak community in Toronto, working amongst mentally handicapped. It is so incredible to read about how Henri learns from what the world would see as "the least of these" and how Henri realizes in his Christian ministry throughout his life he's been fighting 3 temptations:
1. the temptation to be relevant.
2. the temptation to be spectacular.
3. the temptation to be powerful.
I could go on and on about this book, but the last thing I will say is that it is so beautiful how Henri ties his learnings in this book to Jesus and Peter's Q & A here in John 21. If you serve in any way, shape, or form in Christian ministry (or even if you don't :), please pick this book up. You will be blessed by it immensely!
Okay, back to the Bible. :) Below is an image of the risen Jesus from today's readings by the Sea of Galilee (Tiberias is the same Sea, just another name for it) by artist William Hole:
One of my absolute favorite red letter quotes from Jesus in the Gospels arrives today in John 21. Verse 12: ""Now come and have some breakfast!" Jesus said." There is something about the simplicity and beauty and every-day-ness of this command from Jesus to the 7 disciples that I just absolutely love! Can you image Jesus saying this to you? Can you imagine Jesus making breakfast for you on the beach? In the words of the famous Mercy Me song, "I can only imagine..."
Okay, now onto the big question probably for many of us from today's readings is why did Jesus ask Peter 3 times if he loved him? Many commentaries call these passages "the reinstatement of Peter" - meaning that he was reinstated as the rock / confessor of the foundation of Jesus' church based on Matthew 16:16. And that he needed this reinstatement after denying knowing the Lord 3 times before his crucifixion (and the then rooster crowing, as we know...). Interestingly, Tyndale's One Year Bible Companion has the following suggestions on the original Greek used when John wrote about this Q & A exchange between Jesus and Peter: "Two different Greek words are used for "love." The first two times the word agapo, which means devoted love, is used. When Peter refuses to use the same word, Jesus turns to the word phileo, which indicates the love of friendship. Peter accepts this word and admits that he loves Jesus in this way. Peter was humbler now than earlier in his life, and was making no claim to superior love (see John 13:36-37)." In verse 18 Jesus says to Peter: "The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." The early church understood this as a prophecy of crucifixion. Peter would be a martyr and tradition suggests that he was crucified upside down. Below is a beautiful stained glass image of this exchange between Peter and Jesus in today's readings:
Okay, I realize this has been a long post today... but the last thing I want to point out is that I love Jesus' response to Peter when Peter asks about what will happen to John and Jesus says this is verse 22: "Jesus replied, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me." I think this is a great word from Jesus to both you and me today as well! How often do we worry about others and their relationship with the Lord? How often do we perhaps think that we are so saved, and "they" are so not...? Or how often do we wonder why someone seems like they are so blessed, and perhaps we think that we are not? Well, what does Jesus say to all of this to you and me today? I believe he would say the same words from verse 22: "What is that to you? You follow me." Indeed, let us not worry so very much about others. But let us worry instead about ourselves simply following Jesus!
Bible.org's commentary on today's John readings titled "What is this thing called Love?" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today's readings remind me of the song "What if His People Prayed" by Casting Crowns:
Are you praying to Jesus? Click here and Pray!
Comments from You & Questions of the Day: What are your thoughts on our readings in John today with Jesus asking Peter 3 times if he loved him? Why do you think this was asked of Peter 3 times? Was this a "reinstatement" of Peter? What are your thoughts overall on this closing chapter of John today? (Acts begins tomorrow!! :) Also, what verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
p.s. I would greatly appreciate it if you would pray for this Bible Blog ministry today! Please also consider partnering with us by financially supporting this ministry. Thank you!