Do You Love Me?

Do you love me more than these?

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JOHN 21 BIBLE STUDY
4-14 Jesus

15-25 Do You Love Me?

JOHN 21:15-17  15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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 again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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 Jonah, 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 all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

What does Jesus call Peter?
"Simon, son of Jonah." (John 21:15-17)

Why do you think Jesus called him that?
What had made Simon into Peter, the rock, was his relationship with Jesus. Since that relationship had been compromised by Peter's denial of Jesus, Simon was being called Simon until that relationship could be re-established, which is what Jesus is doing in this passage.

What does Jesus ask Peter?
If he loves Him.

Why?
Jesus wasn't asking because He didn't know the answer. Peter was correct in saying, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." (John 21:17) Jesus was doing it to have Peter confront his sins, which had to be addressed and removed before he can be commissioned to tend to the Lord's sheep.

How many times did Jesus ask Peter?
Three times.

Why did Jesus repeat the same question three times?
Because Peter had denied Him three times as described above.

Are Jesus’ questions exactly the same?
Actually not.

What are His three questions?
“Do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15)
“Do you love Me?” (John 21:16)
“Do you love Me?” (John 21:17)

Who are the “these” in John 21:15?
The other disciples with whom they had just "eaten breakfast."

Why would Jesus ask Peter if he loves Him more than them?
Before His crucifixion, when Jesus had said that the disciples will be scattered, Peter had declared in effect that he loved Jesus more than the other disciples did: "Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: ‘ I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” (Matthew 26:31-33)

Are the second and the third questions same or different?
Although they read the same in English, they are actually different in the original Greek. While English has only one word for “love,” there are quite a few in Greek. There is eros for erotic love (none of the Greek words in the New Testament translated, "love," in English is eros), philos for friendship, storge for affection from familiarity among family members or others brought together not by their choice, philostorgos, which combines philos and storge, and philadelphia for brotherly love. And then there’s agape, the self-sacrificing, unconditional love. In the passage above, Jesus uses the verb form of agape in the first two of His three questions and the verb form of philos in the third, while Peter responds with the verb form of philos all three times. What’s happening is this. Jesus firstly asks Peter if he loves Him self-sacrificially "more than these." (John 21:15) Instead of addressing the comparison, Peter answers by claiming his love for Jesus as a friend. After having betrayed Jesus, there was no way that he could claim anything more than that. Jesus then drops the comparison and asks Peter if he simply loves Him self-sacrificially. Peter sticks to his claim of friendly love. With His third question, Jesus drops the level of love down to Peter’s, and there’s a match. Jesus will start working on us with whatever level of love we have for Him, but He does demand humility, which is what Peter displayed in John 21:15-17 in contrast to his prideful declaration in Matthew 26:31-33.

JOHN 21:18-19  18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

What is Jesus telling Peter in John 21:18-19?
How Peter will die.

How did he die?
Some claim that he asked to be crucified upside down because he didn’t consider Himself worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. Jesus' words above that Peter will "stretch out your hands" (John 21:18) appear to support death by crucifixion, but the Bible does not record how Peter died.

JOHN 21:20-25  20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” 23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.25 And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

So, after being reinstated, does Peter shape up?
True to form, he messes up right away again and is scolded by Jesus.

Who was Peter referring to with, "But Lord, what about this man?" (John 21:21)
John who wrote this Gospel.

How much of an exaggeration is in John 21:25?
None. Since Jesus has existed for eternity, what He has done amounts to infinity, which cannot fit into a finite space, not even one as large as our planet.

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