Word Day 15 Follow Me: 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!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
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The Questions

1) Why does Jesus ask Peter three times if he loves Jesus? (verses 15-17)

2) When does Jesus mean by commanding Peter, “Feed my sheep”? (verses 15-17)

3) How would Peter die a death that glorifies God? (verse 19)

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 does Jesus ask Peter three times if he loves Jesus? (verses 15-17)
Peter was one of Jesus’ faithful twelve disciples. He performed miracles, traveled across the Judean countryside with Jesus, and shared in His last Passover meal. However, when Jesus was questioned before the high priest, Peter gave in to fear. He chose to deny even knowing Jesus when confronted by a young slave girl who claimed she had seen Peter with Jesus. (John 18:15-27) In the span of a few minutes, Peter denied Jesus not once, not twice, but three times. Three times, Peter rejected knowing Jesus. Here in verses 15-17, we see Jesus reminding Peter of his mistake, but He doesn’t do this to shame him. Rather than speak harshly, Jesus restores Peter and shows forgiveness for each time of denial. Peter was welcomed back into a deep relationship with Jesus again; what pure grace!

2) When does Jesus mean by commanding Peter, “Feed my sheep”? (
verses 15-17)
Peter understood Jesus really was God in the flesh; he was the first disciple to confess with his mouth that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, the Son of God. (Matthew 16:13-20) Jesus called Peter “The Rock”, saying He would use Peter’s faith as a foundation on which to build His Church. Jesus expected Peter to be faithful to the task of spiritually feeding the church (Christ’s sheep) by consistently teaching the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), daily walking in the power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18), and living in the context of biblical community (Romans 12:3-19). Jesus knew Peter would be a central leader for the early church and the effects of Peter’s example of bold faith would be evidenced even thousands of years later.

3) How would Peter die a death that glorifies God? (
verse 19)
Jesus, in His sovereign wisdom as God the Son, knew Peter would be persecuted for his faith in the Messiah. In the context of Jesus’ loving forgiveness and reinstatement over Peter, giving him purpose and significance, Jesus gave Peter a foretelling of events that would come. Jesus had just restored Peter back into a right relationship with Himself, and rather than sugar coat Peter’s future, Jesus calmly shares that Peter will die for His life choice of following Christ.

Everyday Application

1) Why does Jesus ask Peter three times if he loves Jesus? (verses 15-17)
It is easy for us to kick ourselves over and over for times we have chosen to sin against the God we claim to love. Where shame would burden us, Jesus is ready and willing to welcome us back into relationship with Him by restoring us if we ask His forgiveness and turn from our sin! Jesus will not continue punishing us for sins we have confessed and repented from, for He has already paid the price required for our sin. This is the hope of the gospel! Even in our sin, we can turn back to Him and know He is waiting for us. There is no need to try and clean ourselves up before coming to His feet; this is impossible! Confess, repent, and be restored today!

2) When does Jesus mean by commanding Peter, “Feed my sheep”? (
verses 15-17)
In studying Acts and Peter’s own letters, it’s clear he gave his life to “feeding the sheep” of the Church. Just as Jesus said, Peter became the Rock for the early church’s growth as he stepped into leadership. Those of us who are also leaders in our local body of believers have similar responsibilities to care for, shepherd, and “feed” as fellow believers in Christ. As leaders, we should take ownership and accountability to lead others in knowing Jesus better as Peter exemplified. What about those of us who aren’t recognized “official” leaders in our churches, what do we do? I believe we have the task of vulnerability, honesty, and a desire to grow. In Titus, older women are charged with teaching younger women. (Titus 2:3-4) The only way younger women in the faith can be taught is if they have a teachable spirit. Those of us who aren’t yet mature leaders still have an important role to play in our collective growth. Everyone in the Body of Christ has a place they fit, are needed, and should be participating in specifically. (Romans 12:3-4) We have all been tasked with growing together in the likeness of Jesus. We need each other as we grow in our knowledge of, and relationship with, God.

3) How would Peter die a death that glorifies God? (verse 19)
Following Jesus is no easy task for any believer who has fully surrendered their lives to Christ. Nowhere in the Bible are we guaranteed an easy life in connection with trusting Jesus. This isn’t to say that easy times in our lives are bad; we are free to enjoy seasons of plenty and happiness as the Lord gives them. When trials come, however, we can cling to the words Jesus spoke a few chapters earlier in John 15 concerning suffering for following Him. Christ promised persecution, “If they persecuted Me (Jesus), they will also persecute you (believers in Jesus)”. How can this be a good thing?! To share in the suffering and persecution of Christ is an identifier of our authenticity as believers. Together with believers across time and around the world, “we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17) To share in His glory, we must also share in His persecution. Trials unite us with Christ, and with other believers, in a unique way. Our natural tendency is to run from these uncomfortable, even painful experiences, but let’s remember He is leading us perfectly towards Himself and into heavenly glories. We can take courage, through His strength, when we encounter persecution in this life!

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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 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!

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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 www.studylight.org 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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