Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!
We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
John 21:15-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
1) What happened before this conversation took place?
2) Why does Jesus ask Peter the same question three times?
3) Jesus gave Peter three different commands. What do they mean?
The Findings for Intention
1) One chapter prior to this, Jesus is risen from the dead, the tomb is empty, and He is beginning to interact with His disciples and followers in His new body. Peter, a fisherman, had just caught a heap of fish by the hand of the Lord and, at seeing Christ, threw himself into the sea to swim to the shore. The story continues with an intimate conversation between the Lord and Peter, his disciple. Jesus is beginning to prepare Peter for his departure and we are given a peek into their conversation.
2) Peter has recently denied Jesus three times and at this point has gone back to fishing. Jesus point blank asks Peter if he is ready now to fully follow Him and do the work of the church. Even when Peter gets upset, Jesus asks a third time to make sure that Peter was rock solid in his answer. Three denials, three persistent questions. Christ wants Peter to see that He is faithful, even when Peter isn’t and that Peter’s source of power doesn’t come from himself, but in Christ alone.
3) The first command that Jesus gives Peter is to “feed my lambs.” The word feed, both in v. 15 and v. 17 means to be a leader, a guide, a mentor who supports spiritual welfare. The second command that Jesus gives Peter is to “tend my sheep”. The word tend in v. 16 is directly related to being a shepherd and it means to nourish and cherish. The last command Jesus gives Peter is to “follow me”. In looking at that word “follow” it means to join, accompany, and become a disciple. This exchange between Jesus and Peter is Jesus letting Peter know he’s still on the team. God is still using him regardless of his denial. Jesus is giving Peter his marching orders and that means to follow Him, even unto death.
The Everyday Application
1) These last few moments that Jesus had with his disciples were full of small miracles like providing fish and conversations that set the tone and agenda for the New Testament church. Jesus’ work on earth was complete for now and it was necessary for Him to leave so that the Holy Spirit would come. (Acts 2) The disciples would begin doing the work of the church. They were the Light in the dark world.
2) Peter so passionately professed his love for Jesus (Matt 26:33) before crucifixion, making promises of complete faithfulness to Christ. Only a few hours later, the brave, outspoken Peter withdrew and denied Christ. When Jesus asked him three times for an affirmation of his commitment, it was like He saying, “For each denial I see your heart, for each denial I know you were scared and I forgive you.” Not only does Jesus forgive him but He restores Peter to be the leader of the New Testament and commands him to take charge and love God’s people, cherish His people, and teach them about Himself. Peter, despite his unfaithfulness in a fleeting moment, is used by God to bring light into a dark and lost world!
3) Jesus is preparing Peter for his role in the New Testament church. He is telling Peter, get ready, I am going to use you! When we choose to follow Christ, even in weak moments of doubt and despair, God still has work for us to do. God chooses to use and redeem our weak, cowardly moments for His glory and for His church that His light might go forth!
Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Asking For Light
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I Can Do That!
1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!
We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources. Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.
Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!
Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))
Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.
In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!
Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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