Going Deeper With The Sermon

Speaker: Rev. Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Date: April 23, 2017
Text: Red Letter Jesus: Do You Love Me?



Text: John 21:4-19

Sermon date: April 23, 2017


Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

5 He called out to them, "Friends, haven't you any fish?" "No," they answered.

6 He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[a ] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."

16 Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"


1.   Compare vv. 4-7 with Luke 5:1-11. How are these stories similar / different, especially with regard to Peter?

2.  John tells us that Jesus' appearance at the Sea of Galilee was the third time he had appeared to his disciples (v. 14). What are the distinctive features of each appearance that John is referring to? What happens in each of them?

3.  How does Peter's action in v. 7 fit with what we might know of his character or personality, especially compared with the other disciples in v. 8?

4.  Spend some time thinking through the conversation between Jesus and Peter in vv. 15-17. In what ways was this a painful or difficult conversation? In what ways was it a comforting conversation?

5.  Read 1 Peter 5:1-4. What kind of lasting impact did Peter's conversation with the resurrected Jesus have on his thinking and ministry?    

6.  Commentators struggle to understand what Jesus was referring to when he asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" Two likely answers are:

Do you love me more than these (other disciples)?

Do you love me more than these (things connected with being a fisherman)?

Which possibility seems most compelling to you and why?

7.  Silently in the background of John 21 is Peter's repeated denial of Jesus. What does this story tell us about how Jesus deals with "lapsed followers" who have denied or rejected him at some point?