Sunday, July 8, 2007

Part 8 - Who is Simon Peter


John 21:15 - 19 Jesus Instructs Peter after His Resurrection

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly 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 truly 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."

18 Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, 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!"


This is the conversation which took place after the Christ’s resurrection when He is having dinner with the Disciples.

But what led up to this conversation, and how can we understand the Lord better through this?

I believe we can learn from Simon Peter as we get to know him better, that God can forgive sins and strengthen the faith of those who love Him.

I. Last week we talked about Simon Peter coming to believe Jesus as Messiah and Lord while they were on the fishing boat together.

This is when Jesus calls the first four disciples to be fishers of men and we see them leaving everything behind to follow Jesus.

But who is Simon son of John, and what lead up to this conversation with the Lord?

a) We know Simon was a fisherman, and lived in Capernaum where he was business partners with James and John, sons of Zebedee.

b) We also know that his brother was Andrew, the first disciples of Jesus, who took the Good News to Simon and brought him to know the Lord.

c) We know from the scriptures that Peter was married,

Matthew 8:14 – 15

14 When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. 15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.

Knowing Peter was a Disciple of Christ, called by Jesus Himself, and was married shows us that the Lord does not forbid those who serve Him from being married, as some teach.

Jesus even goes as far as to heal Peter’s Mother-in-law.

We also know from the scriptures that Peter was one of the pillars of the Jerusalem church in Galatians 2:9.

Simon Peter boldly preached, healed, and ministered to Jews and Gentiles after Pentecost when the disciples received the promise from the Father, the power and authority of the Holy Spirit.

Simon Peter was imprisoned by King Herod for preaching and rescued by an angel of the Lord.

We also know that Simon Peter wrote 1 & 2 Peter.

II. What kind of personality does Simon Peter have? Can any of us here today related to him as a person?

I believe that it is important for us to recognize the disciples as regular people, and to try and relate to them in these situations recorded in the Word of God because it will help us understand God and His Word.

I can relate to Simon Peter.

a) Simon Peter was hot tempered (John 18:10), yet at the same time he was tender hearted (Matthew 26:75)

b) Simon was insightful (Matthew 16:16), yet dense. (Matthew 16:21 – 23)

c) He was impulsive (Matthew 14:28)

d) And after Pentecost, he was courageous and solid…a ROCK (Acts 5:27 – 30)

These are all very normal human qualities that many of us share.

Relating with Simon Peter is easy.

III. What about his relationship with Jesus? What memorable encounters happened after Simon accepted his new name given to him by Jesus, which did not come into full effect until the day of Pentecost?

a) When Jesus first met Simon, He changed his name to Peter because he saw the potential inside of Simon. The second time Jesus saw Simon, He taught him through a fishing lesson that Jesus was the Messiah, and Lord.

We see here that two things happen in that account. First, the scriptures refer to Peter as Simon, until he recognizes Jesus as Lord, then they call him Simon Peter.

Secondly, Peter refers to Jesus as teacher, master and such, until he recognizes who Jesus really is, and then he calls Jesus Lord.

b) Simon also is the one who says Jesus is the Christ, Son of the Living God.

Jesus tells him at this time in Matthew 16:16 – 19 that it is upon this rock (or foundation – the fact that Jesus is the Christ and Son of the Living God) that Jesus will build His church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it!

c) Peter was also reprimanded because he refused to accept Jesus had to die in Matthew 16:23.

d) Jesus predicted that Peter would deny knowing Jesus three times in Luke 22:31 – 34.


Peter was boastful, and full of pride that day exclaiming, the other disciples may run, but not I Lord.

Jesus, knowing Peter better than Peter, knew he would deny Him 3 times.

Now here we are in today’s scripture, after the crucifixion, and after the resurrection.

As they eat dinner together, Jesus asks Peter 3 times, if he loved Him?

  1. Simon Peter, do you love me more than these?

Jesus referring to Peter’s boast immediately before the crucifixion about loving Jesus more than the other disciples in Matthew 26:31 – 35; Mark 14:29.

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you”

When Jesus asked the question, He used the Greek word Agapao which means supreme and perfect social and moral love.

When Peter answered though, he used the Greek word Phileo which simply means to be a friend.

Jesus says, “Then feed my lambs” which means to take care of the new converts who need special attention.

  1. Simon, son of John, do you love me?

This time Jesus leaves off the words “more than these”, but again using the strong Greek word Agapao.

Jesus is drawing Peter away from boastfulness by leaving the others out of this question, instead of Peter measuring his love against the other disciples, he now has only himself to measure against.

“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Peter again uses the Greek word for friendship, instead of the supreme and perfect love.

Jesus says, “Then feed my sheep”, now Jesus is referring to Peter taking care of the strong and mature believers.

  1. Simon, son of John, Do you love me?

Jesus uses the weaker word for love this time, the word that Simon Peter used, Phileo, the love of a friend.

This time, we see in the scriptures that Peter grieves at the question.

Everything changed for Peter when Jesus used the weaker word for love.

Do you love me?

Do you love me?

Do you like me?

This reaches Peter, and touches him.

Peter responds, “Lord you know all things, you know that I love you.”

Jesus of course did know this.

Jesus responded, “Feed my Sheep.”

Jesus drew Peter out of himself, comparing his love for the Lord against others and measured against himself.

Jesus gave a commission to Peter.

And although Jesus already knows everything, He wants us to know.

This is why God asks us questions in life, not so that He can know, but so that we can know, and usually about ourselves.


3 times Peter denied knowing Jesus.

After the resurrection, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him.

God can forgive sins, and strengthen the faith of those who love Him.

Have you denied knowing Jesus?

You can deny Christ in words as Simon Peter.

Or you can deny knowing Christ in the way you live.

You can deny Christ in your heart or mind as well.

God can forgive sins.

And He wants to restore you today!

Come forward, repent as Peter did, be forgiven of your sins and reinstated into the ministry in which Christ has called you!

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