Champion Day 15 He’s The Hero: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) Why are they having breakfast? (verse 15)

2) Why does Jesus ask Peter, “Do you love me?”, three times in verses 15-17?

3) What does verse 18 mean?

John 21:15-19

15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”
“Feed my lambs,” he told him. 16 A second time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”
“Shepherd my sheep,” he told him.
17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said. 18 “Truly I tell you, when you were younger, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” 19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. After saying this, he told him, “Follow me.”

Original Intent

1) Why are they having breakfast? (verse 15)
First, we must take note that this entire encounter occurs after Jesus has resurrected from the dead. It was customary for fishermen to set the nets at night and haul in the catch in the early morning hours. The original audience would have known this as commonplace and realized that, after the catch was hauled in, it would have been breakfast time. To them, the scene was set simply by stating the fishermen were eating breakfast. However, in order to fully understand what is taking place in these moments, we must first study John’s words in John 21:1-14. Here, we find the disciples fishing, but catching nothing, that is, until Jesus steps in as only Jesus could do and supplies them with nets full of fish. Readers would immediately be reminded of an event earlier in Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 4:18-22 and  Mark 1:16-20) when Jesus performed a similar miracle before inviting Peter to follow Him. At that first encounter, Peter recognized he was in the presence of Holiness and begged Jesus to leave him for he was aware of his deep sinfulness. (Luke 5:8) In His mercy, Jesus instead told Peter not to fear and follow Him. (Luke 5:10) Now, having followed Jesus for three years, but caught in a lack of purpose as everything had changed, Jesus appeared. He filled their nets with abundance and called out an invitation, not just to breakfast, but to preach Christ and build the Church! In that moment, Peter was reminded of exactly with Whom he shared breakfast. Once again, Jesus had met Peter where he was in life, on his boat in the middle of ordinary, instead of waiting for Peter to come to Him.

2) Why does Jesus ask Peter, “Do you love me?”, three times in verses 15-17?
Just verses before this encounter with Jesus Peter was in one of his darkest moments. During Jesus’ last meal with His disciples, Jesus predicted Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter vehemently disagreed with Jesus thinking he was incapable of denying his Lord. However, this is precisely what happened. Jesus was arrested and Peter denied him three times before the rooster crowed. (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-65; John 18:25-27) In these moments between Jesus and Peter on the early morning shores of Galilee’s Sea, Jesus is not only reminding Peter of his sinful actions but also restoring their relationship because of His mercy and love. It is important to note that Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him. Each question from Jesus was a marker for each denial from Peter, and then Jesus blessedly restored Peter by giving him clear purpose. Peter’s sinful wandering had not cost him a place in Jesus’ kingdom, nor removed Peter from Jesus’ pursuant love of him. Jesus was calling Peter to something bigger than Peter, He’s calling Peter into His own mission with full assurance of His restorative love, and Peter accepts the call, knowing that following Jesus is worth absolutely everything.

3) What does verse 18 mean?
This verse seems almost out of place within the context. Jesus had just finished asking Peter if he loved Him, and then Jesus provided this statement about what is to come. However, upon studying it with verse 19 we see how Jesus is letting Peter know what the future would hold for him in death. This statement is a foretelling of what would happen to Peter and how he would die. Peter’s love for the Lord would cost him his life, and still, Peter followed for the price of loving Jesus was worth it by far! The original readers would have known what had just happened to Jesus by crucifixion. He stretched out His own hands and was taken where He didn’t want to go. Jesus even went so far as to ask God to take away the cup of separation from the Father. (Luke 22:42) John’s audience would have understood the “cup” of God’s wrath being poured out on the Son was not taken from Jesus. Instead, because of His love for humanity, He stretched out His arms on a cross after being led to the place He would be crucified. Peter is learning he will face a similar fate at the end of his life for his decision to follow Jesus.

Everyday Application

1) Why are they having breakfast? (verse 15)
Their shared breakfast immediately follows Jesus’ performance of another miracle to overfill Peter’s empty nets with fish. Jesus intends to remind Peter of who He is as God the Son, leaving no doubt in Peter’s mind He is in the presence of the Christ. Jesus is also meeting Peter where he is instead of waiting on Peter to come to Him. How often does Jesus do the same for us? Instead of waiting for us to return to Him or make ourselves better, He never leaves us, and instead pursues us exactly where we are, even if we are rebelling against Him. Once we have personally decided to take Jesus at His Word as God the Son, trusting that He alone has paid the penalty for sin’s consequence which we deserve, we never need to wonder where He is in our lives. His presence will never leave for He has placed His Holy Spirit within every believer. (Romans 8:10) Even if we stray away and make sinful choices, the Holy Spirit continues to “meet us where we are” just as Jesus did for Peter. I don’t know about you, but that is encouraging for me to remember! If you’ve never trusted Christ as your personal Savior, what’s holding you back? His invitation is much grander than breakfast; it’s to a lifetime of abundant satisfaction in following Him! I urge you to look for His hand no matter what circumstances you are walking through. He is near!

2) Why does Jesus ask Peter, “Do you love me?”, three times in verses 15-17?
It is important to note the words Jesus uses when He asks His question of Peter. In English, we use one word for love but that is not the case in Greek, the language John would have been writing in and Jesus would have spoken. The first two times Jesus asks the question (verses 15-16), He uses the word agape, which we translate love. This type of love, however, is the highest form of love, it is sacrificial and unconditional in nature. It stems only from the heart of God, for only a divine God can love so extravagantly. This is love God has for His creation and it is the love He desires to cultivate within us so we can share it with others and in relationship with Him. Peter’s replies carry a different Greek word for love, phileo. This type of love is best understood as brotherly love, or family love; it’s the shared love of family community. The last time Jesus asks His question, He uses the word Peter had been using all along, phileo. Jesus is essentially asking Peter, “Am I your friend? Will you follow Me out of love?” Jesus knew Peter had blatantly denied Him on that early morning when Jesus was facing trial. Still, in this moment, Jesus meets Peter, coming to him, to restore what was broken. Jesus is inviting Peter back into the work of following Him and spreading the gospel, just as He had on the day He’d first called Peter to be His disciple. It is the same invitation, and the same command, Jesus extends to us and all who follow Jesus with their lives! (Matthew 28:19-20)

3) What does verse 18 mean?
Jesus told Peter he would die in a similar manner to Himself when He spoke these verses and history tells the truth of the statement. Peter was crucified, although he chose to be crucified upside down so as to not die in the same manner of his Lord. While you and I may never face the same physical fate of Peter for choosing to follow Jesus, our lives will share in our Lord’s suffering. Jesus asks us to take up our cross and follow Him. (Matthew 16:24-26) Following Jesus is an “all in” following and will cost us total surrender. Still, genuine Believers follow Jesus and take seriously His commission to spread the good news of the Gospel. The cost is high, but Jesus assures Peter his faithfulness will glorify God and when you and I are faithful we too glorify God. Paul passionately affirms that our sufferings here for Jesus are not even worth comparing to the Glory that will come! (Romans 8:18) I challenge you sisters to look for those moments where Jesus is calling you to follow Him and “feed His sheep”. The outpouring of our faithfulness will look different than our fellow believers, for God’s mission to each of us is unique while also being a calling we all share as followers of Jesus. Do you love Him? Follow the Champion!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
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, 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!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

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.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

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. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? 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 :-))

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