Lovest Thou Me?

John 21:15-19 - So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me. 


I.    The lesson of the previous miracle (John 21:1-14) is to convince Peter and the other disciples that their love for Christ will motivate them into forsaking all this world and completely dedicating themselves to Christ and his eternal work. 

A.     It is also to convince them they have been called unto this heavenly work and that God will richly supply all their present and future physical needs, if they will only obey him in every aspect of their holy calling. 

1.       Like the apostles, God also works with us because he has a job for us to do. 

2.       It is no accident you are here and you are listening to a message of this sort. 

3.       God has a purpose for your life and the events of your life are what God is using to reveal to you his eternal purpose. 

B.     Miracles of God do not occur simply to wow people with the power of God. 

1.       God has not revealed his sovereignty to men, just so we can be wowed at his power. 

2.       God wants to show us his power and excellency so we will worship him as he works out small details of our life. 

C.     Why don’t believers automatically get on the firing line for Christ? 

1.       Give my history of learning that I was wrong when I was witnessing to people. 

2.       Some people do what they think they should be doing by following the example of those they believe are saved. 

D.     The miracle is a “quiet” miracle, and could be easily missed or overlooked. 

1.       Christ did not point out the miracle to them, but allowed them to see his gracious provision for them “on their own”. 

2.       Christ often does not point out the miracles he works in our lives, therefore we should pray that he will open our eyes to see what he is doing. 

3.       Example: when I wrecked my ’53 Olds, Mrs. Carroll told me the Lord was chastening me. 

a.       He husband told her to be quiet because she did not have the right to tell anybody the were being chastened. 

b.       She told him and me she knew I was being chastened because I loved my car too much, and God took it away from me so I would learn to love God instead of a car. 


II.    It is amazing that when Christ begins to speak to Peter about faithful service, he asks if he loves him. 

A.     The foundation of all service is the love of God. 

1.       If a person fails to love God, but seeks to build himself, or perform great works, he fails because he does not love God. 

2.       Matthew 22:36-40 – The first commandment is to love God more than anything or anybody else, and to love your neighbor as yourself. 

3.       John 13:34-35 states, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. 

4.       I Corinthians 13 is the “love” chapter. 

a.       The subject of I Corinthians is really spiritual gifts, which subject beings in chapter 12 and continues to chapter 14. 

b.       A person can do all sorts of good works, which will be rejected because they are not done in love. 

5.       It is no wonder the world thinks so little of religion when there are so many public arguments and disagreements and church splits. 

B.     I have been told it is almost necessary to understand Greek if this passage is to be rightly understood, but that is not so.

1.       God is very gracious to us in giving us his word in the English language. 

2.       Jesus addresses Peter, but it is very obvious to me that this lesson is good for each of us. 

a.       Jesus does not severely chasten Peter, but simply reminds him of what his real purpose on this earth is.

b.       Jesus does not begin to speak to Peter until after Peter has eaten and been refreshed. 

c.       Peter must be tired from the all night fishing trip (in which nothing was caught), therefore needs to be refreshed before he is reprimanded by Christ. 

3.       It would not be unusual for a person to ask if we loved them one time, but when they asked the third time, we might begin to think they had something on their mind we should pay attention to; even if we didn’t understand Greek. 

a.       The wife asks the husband if he loves her and he grunts “Yeah” without raising his eyes from the newspaper he is reading. 

b.       She asks the second time, continuing to look at him, and this time, he looks up from his newspaper into her eyes, looking for a clue as to why she continues asking him this question when she should already know the answer. 

c.       This time, he replies, “Yes, I love you.” and returns to his newspaper. 

d.       When she asks the third time, he should begin to realize she has something on her mind that is not the ordinary asking. 

e.       He should understand she desires a fellowship with him that is closer than just a casual “I love you”. 

f.        Peter, like men, get agitated when asked the third time. 


III.    Christ questions Peter.

A.     Verse 15 – Lovest me more than these? 

1.       Either the disciples he is with, or the fish he is eating. 

2.       The word “love” is the Greek word “agapao” which means a self-sacrificing giving love. 

a.       Peter replies that Jesus knows everything; even that Peter loves “phileo” Jesus (as a friend). 

b.       Jesus informs Peter that if his love for Christ is real he should feed the lambs – or the little ones. 

c.       The point here is that real true love for Jesus Christ also gives a real true love for the little ones, and there will be a God-given desire to feed them, or instruct them in the precious word of God. 

B.     Verse 16 – Jesus asks Peter again if he loves “agapao” him.

1.       This question narrows the question from “all of these” to Christ alone. 

a.       The question should focus Peter’s eyes on Christ alone. 

b.       Peter answers this question exactly as he answered the first question. 

1.)    He states that he and Christ are friends. 

2.)    Remember Jesus called Judas a friend so sometimes friendship can be very shallow. 

c.       There may be a growing understanding on Peter’s part as to what is going on, but there is little to say Peter understands the slightest thing Christ is saying. 

d.       Jesus instructs Peter once again to feed the sheep. 

1.)    Sheep are grown lambs. 

2.)    It is interesting that all need fed – both lambs and sheep. 

3.)    Before Peter can feed them, he must feed for himself, so he will have something of value to give to them. 

4.)    The minister that neglects his own food will soon discover he has nothing of value to give to anybody. 

C.     Verse 17 – Jesus asks the third question as Peter has answered the first two questions. 

1.       Jesus asks Peter if Peter is Jesus’ friend. 

2.       Jesus is acquainting Peter with the fact that friendship and fellowship go hand in hand, a point that escaped Peter’s attention when he decided to go fishing instead of closely following Christ, or even asking Christ if it was okay if he went fishing. 

3.       Peter is grieved at being asked the third time. 

a.       Do you get grieved at me if I would ask you three times if you loved Christ? 

b.       Do you get aggravated at your spouse if they would ask you three times if you loved them? 

c.       Do you get aggravated at the preacher if he mentions several times that you should be faithful in church attendance, or in Bible reading, or in praying, or in witnessing? 

d.       What if the preacher would ask you personally if you were saved, would you get aggravated at him for asking? 

e.       Would you think he was being pretty nosy? 

f.        Do you have enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian? 

g.       Do the people you deal with know you are a believer? 

D.     Verse 18-19 – Jesus prophecies the soon coming death of Peter, which was clearly understood. 

1.       The love Christ speaks to Peter about is a life long love, even to the death. 

2.       Peter will understand how he will die for Christ, but he must first be prepared to live.