Dead men don't hire contract shepherds john 21 vv 15 19

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In a world full of failures in Christian leadership, what does Jesus consider failure to be and how does He address and correct it? …

In a world full of failures in Christian leadership, what does Jesus consider failure to be and how does He address and correct it?
(This is NOT just for Pastors!)

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  • Now … that’s fascinating, isn’t it?Simon, son of John.When did Jesus call Peter THAT before?John 1:41 “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas’ (which, when translated, is Peter[a]).Peter was called ‘Simon son of John’ BEFORE he started to follow Jesus.As soon as he started to follow Jesus, Jesus renamed him: ‘Cephas’ (Aramaic) or ‘Petros’ (Greek) … both of which are generally (badly) translated usinb the Latin derived name ‘Peter’ … whereas all of those mean the same as our English name ‘Rocky’.Rocky.Peter.Who had just proved FAR from Rocky.Following Jesus … yes, Rocky.But recently?His love had grown cold, he had denied Jesus three time although he’d sworn he would NEVER do so … and his far from Rock steady reliable conduct had put his relationship with Jesus … on the rocks.Simon, son of John (back to before he ever STARTED to follow Jesus, because he had DENIED Jesus repeatedly out of a fear that beat faith) … do you LOVE me, more than these others here?I’m afraid we’re going next to the Greek because the language Jesus uses is VERY much the point.Here’s the question …
  • C. S. Lewis very famously wrote a book (pub. in 1960) called ‘The Four Loves’ in which he delineated the lexical content of four Greek words for love, which he translated: Affection, friendship, eros and charity.“Every Christian would agree that a man’s spiritual health is exactly proportional to his love for God. But man’s love for God, from the very nature of the case, must always be very largely, and must often be entirely, a Need-love.”In our passage of Scripture, Jesus is clearly looking for ONE sort of love from Peter, and getting offered another altogether.Jesus asks Peter: Simon, son of John, do you ἀγαπηme?Peter offers Jesus: Yes Lord, you know that I φιλῶyou.Now we need to be careful here because (Louw & Nida ‘Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains’) “Though some persons have tried to assign certain significant differences of meaning between {these words} it does not seem possible to insist on a contrast of meaning in any and all contexts” (cites this passage … because this is just a matter of avoiding repetition).Now HANG ON!The principle is correct but in this context the precise thing that is going on here is that Peter is making Jesus a lesser than ἀγαπηoffering … he’s making Jesus a φιλῶoffer, and at the end of the day Jesus doesn’t even settle for that because the final question in the set of three (one for each of the three times Peter has denied Jesus at the House of the High Priest?) is ‘do you even φιλεω me?’Of course the words can be used with more or less precision.Of course they can mean slightly different things in different contexts.Words generally can!But here the whole point of the passage revolves around this factor: Peter offers Jesus less than the love that Jesus calls for … and Jesus is hot on that trail.You might want to put it like this …
  • What’s the issue here between these words in this context?Louw & Nida: φιλεω“to have love or affection for someone or something based on association”There is an interesting word derived from it – φιλαδελφιαwhich is about love for your brothers … “affection for one’s fellow believer in Christ”.It’s love for YOUR crowd.Love for your ‘in-group’.Peter is OFFERING that, but Jesus isn’t really asking for that.ἀγαπηWhat Jesus is asking for (but almost gets negotiated down from) is ἀγαπη - ἀγαπαωWhat he gets is something different.The difference that makes is the question at issue here …
  • The point is that Peter just hasn’t got the point.I’m by NO means sure he even realises yet the significance of what he is saying, because Jesus is asking Peter – future leader of the post Pentecost church – for the sort of love that God shows, that Jesus shows, to His people.This αγαπη is what God shows His people …And that sort of love has just been shown in the last few weeks before this event to be unmerited love right through unjust and unwarranted death!(Which explains what’s going on in v. 18)But here’s what Peter’s ready to offer Jesus at this point:Lord … authoritativeYou know … all knowingHe acknowledges the authority of Jesus but seems not to get the point of the question.He calls Jesus Lord but swats aside His question like a parent getting asked by a child for love … ‘you KNOW I do!’What do I do?I φιλεω the all seeing, all knowing Lord of Glory … and I expect to get away with it!Get this …
  • You love me? (the Lord asks)Mebbe you do … but you’ve a Lot more to learn about loving and following me yet …And Jesus says the result will be that you WILL drink the cup I drink, and you WILL be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with.“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!’”FOLLOW me.So when Jesus puts the question that first time in the sequence: “‘Simon son of John, do you ἀγαπη me more than these?’, Peter responded … ‘not quite’!But Jesus still gave Peter this commission:
  • Now look … this is crucial.We’ve already seen how one bit of the context is crucial to the meaning of this passage … but get this next bit.The whole context of Jesus’s conversation with Peter here is what?It’s all about Peter as a Christian leader, one charged with responsibility for the FLOCK of God.He’s supposed to be the big, out the front, dynamic leader-type bloke amongst the Apostles.And he’s caved in, big style, although he’d been warned about it and insisted that he wouldn’t do that … even if everyone else did.His commission now as before, by the grace of God, remains in place.Though we are faithless, God remains faithful … DO you love me?DO the job.Feed my lambs!
  • So, really, in this context, it is crucial to see and to understand that it is Peter’s commitment to Christ as one who is charged with the responsibility of Christian leadership, and leadership amongst leaders, that has fallen into question.His TALK has been good … but he hasn’t come up with the goods.And THAT’s the point of this conversation as far as Jesus is concerned, because He wants to make the point to Peter that you have truly got to FOLLOW Jesus come what may to be a Christian and esp. to be a Christian leader.You need to LOVE Jesus if you are going to follow Jesus determinedly so that you can lead others to Him and along with Him.It is that following Jesus that has fallen into question where Peter is concerned, and it must never do so again in Peter’s case because he is going to have to carry a HUGE responsibility for teaching and leading the post Pentecost church after the Lord’s return to Glory.So the question is going to come up again … but just notice the phrasing here for a moment if you would …
  • The phrasing is going to get varied in a minute, but for the moment note that quite literally it’s the feeding of the Lord’s lambs that Jesus tasks Peter with.The ‘job’ of Christian leadership is the job of feeding lambs.Two things:1) It’s the young, tender, immature … the ones who need milk and not meat, strong protein and minerals not high fallutin’ stuff.2) It’s FEEDING that is the core of the task.I remember ages ago another minister in the town we were then working in telling me that he wasn’t a great preacher, didn’t enjoy preaching, but his gift was administration.The Christian leader, the one who pastors the flock in the shepherds stead, is called in Scripture the Pastor-teacher … because to have their Pastoral needs met they need to (one way or another) be FED.Pastoring the flock is feeding the flock.Evangelism amounts to putting down feed for lambs.Counselling is teaching the Bible one to one.The other stuff is really just admin.Here’s the core task:Feed my lambs.Jesus COULD have stopped there. But He hasn’t finished the job.Peter hasn’t got it yet.And the next question clearly reveals that …
  • Is that not the SAME question as before?No it’s not!Subtlely it has CHANGED!Please notice what’s happened to the question … here’s a diagram …
  • What’s dropped out here is the issue of the pre-eminence of his love for the Lord that Peter had earlier claimed … Where Now is the ‘more than these?’!Peter is the one who claimed that if all others abandoned Jesus, he (Peter) never would.He’d been keen to compare himself ever so favourable against ‘the rest’ of the Apostles.He’d thought he stood head and shoulders above the rest …But when challenged three times on the night Jesus was betrayed, Peter’d been the only one who actually had outright denied the Lord.Clearly Peter DIDN’T love Jesus ‘more than these’ … and Jesus highlights the fact by just rephrasing the question …Never mind ‘more than these’ … Peter do you LOVE me at all?And again as Peter responds to that ‘lower standard’ question, the Greek gets VERY revealing …
  • Peter still can’t quite manage to get this right.His response to the Lord’s just the same … you know that I love you in the ‘by virtue of association’ sort of way … I hang with the tribe, this is my clan, I am a happy groupie … but costly, life giving, non deserved love is something that goes too far for me.Love the way you loved, Lord?A little bit Mediterranean.Not exactly what you’d want to call British … is it?λέγει αὐτῷ ναί κύριε σὺ οἶδας ὅτι φιλῶ σε And still Jesus says …
  • The Good shepherd laid down His LIFE for the sheep.Peter’s to learn what following that sort of Jesus MEANS for him, and for any follower of Jesus, or leader in the church.It is going to demand from you ‘ἀγαπη’ – and it’s going to cost you … your life.We’re only at the end of the Lord’s second question and it’s going to cost you your life.
  • Now in English that hardly conveys it, so let’s go look at the Greek text again …
  • Now we can see straight away why it was Peter was hurt.It wasn’t that Jesus had asked the same question three times that hurt Peter, but that the third time the Lord asked him a different one.The third time it was ‘never mind ἀγαπη, then, are you sure … do you really even φιλεωme?Oh and now, that third time, with the devaluation of language, the third time (like the denial and the all round failure that went with it) Peter is devastated by this question.But the response … still left a great deal to be desired.
  • … and by now you are just DYING to know what the Greek says, aren’t you?!
  • Peter can’t drag himself through to a commitment to Jesus’s style of loving … which is required of a leader of followers of Jesus … and again we get the lesser word φιλεω.Of course Peter’s willing to admit just Who Jesus really is … Jesus is the Lord, Who knows all things.For a Jew that’s a confession of the deity of Christ … but the tussle inside Peter for the decision of life to lay life down for the Saviour, in His service, leading the flock of God … that costly decision’s still future.
  • And still the grace of God through the Saviour’s so great that it covers Peter’s imperfection and the call comes again …Feed.My.Sheep.It’s the old commission.It’s the pre-failure commission.And it’s coming to Peter again.It’s a bit like the situation in the OT prophet Jonah, where Jonah has failed and run from the commission of God to go and preach to the great city of Nineveh … “2 1 [a]From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God … 3:1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh”.Here it comes again: “Feed my sheep”.But that’s NOT where it stops.That’s not the answer for Peter.That’s all in the future, but here’s what Peter needs to do now … the Lord Jesus takes Peter back to the basics.
  • The big question Peter needs to concern himself with is not the pre-eminence of his love for the Lord Jesus.It is not his LEADERSHIP amongst the Apostles … as if THAT were the thing he should concern himself with.The essence of Peter’s re-commissioning from the Lord is not even to love Jesus harder or stronger.The Lord’s call to Peter is NOT to build a ministry, or to develop his leadership skills, or to try harder to be better than any of the rest.Jesus calls Peter back to what Jesus called Peter to from the very start, amongst the boats and the nets, on the beach with the boys, as they fished fish in the waters of Lake Galilee.(Matthew 4:18-19) “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’ “
  • What do you think Peter THOUGHT he was doing?How many people out there do you think that there are, who truly think that they are following Jesus?And how many of those don’t understand the difference between φιλεω and αγαπη for Jesus?There are ALL sorts of things that motivate christianised behaviour, and ethics and religious observance.But Jesus is looking for love in His followers and leaders, love for Jesus, costly love that lays down its life in response to His plenteous grace.Love that ends up following His example of life down-laying love.And here comes the call.The call as it came through at first.Jesus looks straight at Peter … who’s done his three years at Bible College doing high level study with the Master … and takes him back to the first lesson (one he’s clearly forgotten) and says plainly and simply: ‘follow me’.
  • The big question Peter needs to concern himself with is not the pre-eminence of his love for the Lord Jesus.It is not his LEADERSHIP amongst the Apostles … as if THAT were the thing he should concern himself with.The essence of Peter’s re-commissioning from the Lord is not even to love Jesus harder or stronger.The Lord’s call to Peter is NOT to build a ministry, or to develop his leadership skills, or to try harder to be better than any of the rest.Jesus calls Peter back to what Jesus called Peter to from the very start, amongst the boats and the nets, on the beach with the boys, as they fished fish in the waters of Lake Galilee.(Matthew 4:18-19) “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’”It was about Christian leadership – leading people to Jesus – back then, and it’s about the very self same thing again.Not again.All the time.Because if you can’t lead people to Jesus, you are not a Christian leader.The POINT about Christian leadership is that it leads people to Jesus.And you can’t do that unless you will follow Him.And your will is motivated by your emotions towards Him.So if you don’t full on LOVE Him you just will not full on FOLLOW Him!Are you getting the drift in this passage?
  • The point of Christ’s challenge to Peter is to question the warmth of Peter’s love for Jesus.That love has fallen into question because Peter’s actions have displayed a lack of commitment in practice … a lack of commitment that Peter’d vehemently denied.But Jesus will settle for a low level of love, if Peter will just get on with his pursuing his calling … which is not church office, nor pre-eminence, nor leadership, but plain ordinary old Christian DISCIPLESHIP!FOLLOWING JESUS.THAT is where the rubber hits the road, and the warmth of our love for the Lord becomes evident in the way that Jesus reckons it.Don’t go aiming for exaltation … it is dangerous.Stick to basics … the rest will follow if the Lord wills and intends it to do so.And those who stumble, and slip, and fail … that’ll be everyone, then.Those whose love grows cold, and imperfect, and even shameful … Jesus takes back to the start, to the very beginning, and says come on FOLLOW me, here’s the big thing from which all other things stem.Follow me.I’ve died for sin.My love has NOT been like yours.The price is paid, so come and enter in, to all that Jesus died to make your own.

Transcript

  • 1. “‘Where, O death, is your victory?Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.But thanks be to God!He gives us the victorythrough our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
  • 2. John 21:15-19• Introduction – handling famous failures in leadership?
  • 3. John 21:15-19• Introduction – handling famous failures in leadership?
  • 4. John 21:15-19• Introduction – what Jesus sees as & how Jesus handles a famous failure in leadership
  • 5. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15“When they had finished eating, Jesus said toSimon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love memore than these?’”
  • 6. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15 – Question • Σίμων Ἰωάννου ἀγαπᾷσ με πλέον τούτων • ναί κύριε ςὺ οἶδασ ὅτι φιλῶ ςε
  • 7. Round Question Response (Jesus) (Peter)Round 1 ἀγαπᾷσ με Φιλεω(v. 15) πλέον τούτωνRound 2 ἀγαπη Φιλεω(v. 16)Round 3 φιλεω Φιλεω(v. 17)
  • 8. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15 – Question – Response “‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’”
  • 9. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15 – Question – Response – Commission “Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’”
  • 10. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15 – Question – Response – Commission “Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’” • I will never deny you! • Just then, the cock crowed the third time • Do you love me more than these?
  • 11. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15 – Question – Response – Commission “Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’” βόςκε τὰ ἀρνία μου
  • 12. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16 “Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’”
  • 13. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16 – Same question (almost) v. 15 v. 16 “When they had finished eating, Jesus Again Jesus said, said to Simon Peter ‘Simon son of John, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me do you love me?’ more than these?’
  • 14. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16 – Same question (almost) – Same response λέγει αὐτῷ πάλιν δεύτερον Σίμων Ἰωάννου ἀγαπᾷσ με λέγει αὐτῷ ναί κύριε ςὺ οἶδασ ὅτι φιλῶ ςε
  • 15. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16 – Same question (almost) – Same response – Same commission “Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." ποίμαινε τὰ πρόβατά μου
  • 16. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff.“The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you loveme?’Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do youlove me?’”
  • 17. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff – Very different question “λέγει αὐτῷ τὸ τρίτον Σίμων Ἰωάννου φιλεῖσ με”
  • 18. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff – Very different question – Response : “He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’”
  • 19. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff – Very different question – Response : “λέγει αὐτῷ κύριε πάντα ςὺ οἶδασ ςὺ γινώςκεισ ὅτι φιλῶ ςε”
  • 20. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff – Very different question – Response – Commission Jesus said, "Feed my sheep” λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰηςοῦσ βόςκε τὰ πρόβατά μου
  • 21. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff – Very different question – Response – Commission – Recommission
  • 22. John 21:18-19“18 Very truly I tell you, when you were youngeryou dressed yourself and went where youwanted; but when you are old you will stretchout your hands, and someone else will dress youand lead you where you do not want to go.’ 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death bywhich Peter would glorify God.Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’”
  • 23. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17 ff – Very different question – Response – Commission – Recommission “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’
  • 24. John 21:15-19• Introduction• The first question, v. 15• The second question, v. 16• The third question, v. 17• Conclusion