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Do You Love Me? (A Sermon on John 21:15-19)

Do You Love Me? (A Sermon on John 21:15-19)

After they had completed consuming, Jesus stated to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you like me greater than these?” “Sure, Lord,” he stated, ” that I like you.” Jesus stated, “Feed my lambs.” Once more Jesus stated, “Simon son of John, do you like me?” He answered, “Sure, Lord, that I like you.” Jesus stated, “Deal with my sheep.The third time he stated to him, “Simon son of John, do you like me?Peter was harm as a result of Jesus requested him the third time, “Do you like me?” He stated, “Lord, all issues; that I like you.Jesus stated, “Feed my sheep.

Very really I inform you, while you had been youthful you dressed your self and went the place you needed; however when you’re outdated you’ll stretch out your arms, and another person will costume you and lead you the place you don’t want to go.Jesus stated this to point the sort of dying by which Peter would glorify God. Then he stated to him, “Observe me!“” (John 21:15-19)

It is the third Sunday in Eastertide, and so we discover ourselves again on the seashore with Peter and the remaining eleven Apostles.

Easter is the defining occasion of the Christian religion and so it is sensible that on these Sundays following Easter we deal every year with the identical acquainted Biblical texts that encapsulate our core beliefs and values.

Easter Day is our celebration of hope – the hope of resurrection and our hope for the victory of sunshine over darkness. On the Sunday after the resurrection we deal with religion as seen within the story of ‘doubting’ Thomas. This week – the third Sunday of Easter – our theme is love; the love of Jesus and the love of Peter for Jesus – as performed out on this scene on the seashore.

I do not know if in case you have a favorite Easter story or favorite Easter picture. I feel in relation to heat and nostalgic Biblical pictures, Christmas tends to have one thing of a monopoly – pictures of the newborn on the manger, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the clever males…

In relation to Easter, Christian artwork has centered nearly completely on the cross moderately than the resurrection, which is comprehensible maybe, however leaves us with a little bit of a dearth of heat and winsome Easter pictures. For me, this story from John’s Gospel, with Jesus asking Peter if he loves Him, and Peter swearing passionately that certainly he does love Jesus, fills that hole. The curious factor is that the passage appears to have initially been not more than an appendix to the Gospel narrative!

I heard one commentator confer with this story in John chapter twenty-one because the ‘encore’ to John’s Gospel, and certainly, should you learn the tip of the previous chapter, you may see that it is fairly clear that the writer was concluding the story there:

“Jesus carried out many different indicators within the presence of his disciples which aren’t recorded on this ebook, however these are written that you could be consider that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you might have life in his title.” (John 20:30-31)

Finish of story, applause, the writer takes a bow, walks off stage after which, because the applause continues, walks again on and says, ‘OK, only one extra story’.

In fact although, it is unlikely that this story was added in response to the adulation of the group. The top of chapter twenty-one itself means that there was some confusion within the early church over whether or not Jesus had stated to the Apostle Peter that the Apostle John was going to reside to see Him return. This supplementary story was clearly designed, a minimum of partially, to place that controversy to relaxation by declaring that this was not precisely what Jesus had stated. I’m wondering too although if this story wasn’t additionally included to resolve sure controversies surrounding Peter, who strikes me as probably the most elusive determine within the historical past of the early church.

I do not fake to be an skilled on this area, however I feel that should you had been studying by the New Testomony for the primary time and had simply completed the 4 Gospels, and had no concept as to what adopted within the ebook of the Acts of the Apostles or what was stated within the varied letters that stuffed out the ebook, I feel you would be justified in assuming that Peter would characteristic fairly strongly in nearly all of it.

“Upon this rock I’ll construct my church” says Jesus of Peter (Matthew 16:18), and on the idea of that highly effective fee our Catholic sisters and brothers have all the time designated Peter as the primary Pope.

Peter was first amongst the Apostles – certainly? Didn’t Jesus Himself made that clear? Peter was the rock upon which the church could be constructed, the hinge upon which it will swing! The one drawback with that is that the historical past of the early church, as recorded in the remainder of the New Testomony, would not actually bear this out!

In relation to church management, it appears that evidently James, the earthly brother of Jesus, appears to have been the official head of the church in Jerusalem, and in relation to management throughout the church buildings outdoors of Israel, there will be little doubt in any respect that the main determine there wasn’t Peter however Saint Paul!

What occurred to Peter? He was clearly lively, and he did certainly contribute a number of letters which might be included close to the tip of the New Testomony. Even so, in these early data Peter doesn’t shine forth because the rock upon which the early church was constructed. He appears to be extra within the background more often than not. What occurred?

Was Peter concerned in some controversy that compelled him to drag again from taking a number one position in public ministry, or did he die early on?

After all, those that know the ‘Quo Vadis’ story know that custom has Peter assembly Jesus on the highway to Rome the place the early church was being persecuted, after which Peter follows Jesus again to Rome to endure martyrdom along with his sisters and brothers. Even so, most historians would think about this as a ripping yarn moderately than actual historical past. The reality is, we actually do not know what occurred to Peter!

The opposite actually perplexing factor about Peter is the query of what occurred to the story of his preliminary assembly with Jesus after the resurrection.

St Paul says of Jesus in his first letter to the church at Corinth, that he first appeared to Peter, after which to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:5). Clearly this was well-known within the early church – that Peter was the primary of the male Apostles to fulfill with Jesus after the resurrection – and but now we have no surviving written document of this assembly. What occurred to it?

I feel it is typically assumed that that is what’s lacking on the finish of the Gospel of Mark.

In the event you’re conversant in Mark’s Gospel, you may know that it’s distinctive amongst the Gospel narratives in that it has no resurrection story in any respect – a minimum of, not in its present kind – or moderately, that it has two or three totally different resurrection narratives in its present kind.

Most students consider that Mark was the primary of the 4 Gospels written, and with the oldest variations of that oldest Gospel story that now we have, they finish surprisingly abruptly.

After Jesus’ feminine disciples uncover the empty tomb, we’re advised: Trembling and bewildered, the ladies went out and fled from the tomb. They stated nothing to anybody, as a result of they had been afraid.(Mark 16:8) THE END

That is hardly prone to be the best way Mark supposed to finish his story in regards to the life, dying and resurrection of Jesus. The final assumption is that the unique ending to Mark’s Gospel has been misplaced.

As an alternative you may discover another early resurrection narratives. They often discover a place in our variations of the New Testomony as footnotes. Even so, the overall assumption amongst students is that the unique ending of the Gospel has been misplaced, and most of us assume that this unique ending should have included the story about that early assembly between the resurrected Jesus and Peter.

It is mysterious! How may such an necessary Gospel narrative get misplaced? Did one thing actually embarrassing occur in that first assembly between Jesus and Peter after the resurrection, such that Peter (or a few of his influential supporters) made certain that this story was overlooked when the Gospel was reproduced? That is hardly probably, is it, as you could not get rather more embarrassing than what’s included!

Did Peter maybe get entangled in one other scandal of kinds, such that the majority of the early church determined to not distribute among the early tales that included Peter? That does not sound probably both, does it?

The issue is that it is onerous to give you any believable rationalization as to why anybody would wish to intentionally lose the unique ending of Mark’s Gospel. All we do know is that Mark has no ending whereas John apparently has two endings, and I feel it’s fairly believable that this additional ending in John, which was fairly presumably revealed half a century after Mark’s Gospel, is there partially to make up for what had gone lacking.

Now, you may must forgive me if this sermon has up to now seemed like a lecture on Biblical literary criticism. I recognize that whereas these of us who’ve been finding out the Bible all our lives do get eager about all these questions on which Gospel was revealed first and why some bits are included and others are overlooked. I recognize too although that should you’ve tuned in since you’re grieving and also you’re trying to find non secular energy and peace, this kind of dialogue in regards to the courting of manuscripts and the development of narratives can appear fairly dry. If that is you, my request is that you just bear with me just a bit longer.

The purpose I wish to make is that if the primary of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances to the unique group of twelve disciples takes place with Peter, is not it attention-grabbing that the final chapter of the final of the Gospels written additionally offers with a post-resurrection assembly between Jesus and Peter.

I feel that is Peter’s epitaph, given to us by his buddy, John. No matter occurred to Peter throughout these years when he stepped again from centre-stage within the early church, that is how the Gospel author needed him to be remembered.

“Simon son of John, do you like me greater than these?”

“Sure, Lord, that I like you.

“Simon son of John, do you like me?”

“Sure, Lord, that I like you.”

“Simon son of John, do you like me?”

“Lord, all issues; that I like you.

It is an intense and delightful but painful dialogue between Jesus and Peter. Repeating the query thrice was an apparent allusion to the thrice that Peter had denied figuring out Jesus, simply previous to the crucifixion. Jesus certainly supposed Peter to see that connection and the truth that Peter will get emotional the third time he’s requested, confirms that Peter would not miss the purpose.

Curiously, Jesus would not reply to Peter’s affirmations of affection with the phrases I forgive you, I forgive you, I forgive you. Maybe that dialogue of forgiveness and reconciliation was what occurred of their first post-resurrection assembly. What Jesus does right here is moderately to fee Peter once more. He appoints Peter as soon as once more to the position of tending and feeding the sheep – of extending the love he has for Jesus to the members of the group of religion who want that love.

After which we get that chilling prophecy:

while you had been youthful you dressed your self and went the place you needed; however when you’re outdated you’ll stretch out your arms, and another person will costume you and lead you the place you don’t want to go.(John 21:18)

And John provides, “Jesus stated this to point the sort of dying by which Peter would glorify God.” (John 21;19)

Regardless of, John’s feedback, it is not precisely clear what sort of dying is being referred to right here, besides that it will not have been a pure dying. When Jesus says another person will costume youdoes He imply that Peter will likely be wearing animal skins earlier than being fed to the lions, or does the picture of him stretching out his arms merely imply that his arms will likely be tied as he is led in direction of the block?

Both approach, the picture is chilling, and I can by no means learn it with out remembering Henri Nouwen’s reflection on this prophecy – that the destiny of Peter is actually the destiny of each follower of Jesus. Nouwen believed that this picture encapsulated the trail in direction of non secular maturity – a course of whereby we more and more stretch out our arms and submit ourselves to Jesus, who leads us into locations the place we don’t wish to go.

For Peter, as for Jesus Himself, this path of struggling is the flipside of his love. Jesus suffers as a result of He loves us. Peter likewise will endure as a result of he loves Jesus.

Do you like me, Peter? Do you like me? Do you like me?

Sure, Lord. You recognize that I like you. You recognize that I like you.

That is Peter’s epitaph. These are the final phrases written within the final Gospel a couple of man about whom a lot is alleged however about whom a lot can be left unsaid. The ultimate phrase on Peter is given to the Gospel author John. Peter was a person who beloved Jesus.

Let this be our epitaph too. No matter else they are saying of us – that we struggled, that we failed, that we displayed all of the weak spot recognized to the human situation – let this be stated of us too, that in the long run we beloved Him.

#Love #Sermon #John

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