March 27, 2022

What gets in the way

What gets in the way

What gets in the way?  (John 21:15-23)

  • Today let’s focus in on two questions in this passage. Jesus’s questions to Peter, and Peter’s question to Jesus.
  • Jesus asks the first question, “Do you truly love me?” (NIV)
    • Many translations render it “Do you love me more than these?”
      • In the Greek the word is “these” and there is some ambiguity.
    • That ambiguity may be intentional on Jesus’ part.
      • Jesus is probably referring to the other disciples, or do you love me more than they do?
      • Jesus may also be referring to other things, perhaps Jesus was referring to the fish.
        • This would have been meant to symbolize Peter’s livelihood of fishing.
      • Jesus gets to ask this question because he has already proven His love by dying on the cross.
      • Jesus is beginning the process of restoring Peter, and this whole scene is about grace, love, and restoration.
      • What are the things that get in the way of us loving Jesus?
      • First, people and relationships.
        • Jesus is asking do you love me more than these other disciples, or more than they do?
      • Are there human relationships that interfere and take away from our love relationship with Jesus?
      • Second, work, occupation, money
        • Jesus may also have been referring to the fish and therefore Peter’s job as a fisherman.
        • We all know that work certainly has a way of interfering with our relationship with Jesus.
      • John 21:1-5. The answer to scarcity is always Jesus.
      • Third, persecution/difficulty
        • It was after all persecution that caused Peter to disown Jesus three times.
        • And just like Peter, we often allow persecution or difficulty to interfere with our love for Jesus.

Continuing: Jesus restores Peter three times because Peter disowned Jesus three times.

  • The third time Peter is hurt by the question because he doesn’t see or understand the powerful thing that Jesus is doing through this restoration process.

Verses 18-19 In these two verses Jesus tells Peter what kind of persecution and death he will suffer.

  • But then Jesus says follow me. The only path through this is to follow Jesus closely.

Verse 20 Now we see Peter’s question.  It is a question of comparison.

  • Jesus’s question was one of love. Rooted in grace and pushing toward restoration.
  • Peter’s question is one of comparison. Rooted in fear, scarcity, and lack of trust.

Verses 22  When Jesus says, “If I want him to remain alive until I return” He is saying I have the power to do that.

  • When Jesus says, “what is that to you,” He is basically saying, it’s not for you to know about this other guy.
  • Jesus ends with, “You must follow me,” Jesus is getting Peter to focus solely on his own relationship with God. This is a word to all of us. We each must follow Jesus, for ourselves.
    • We should also not and cannot compare ourselves with others.