Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that Jesus urged Peter to care for God’s people. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to love God enough to obediently care for His people.
Read John 21:15-17
I. Repeated Exchange. Jesus and His disciples finished eating their meal. Jesus asks Simon Peter three times about his love for Jesus. He also tells Peter to take care of His lambs and sheep – God’s people. Peter is distressed by Jesus’ asking him three times about his love.
- Love and service. Notice in vss. 15-17 that Jesus called Peter to essentially show his love for Jesus, by feeding and caring for the people of God.
First, we have so many reasons to love God. He saved us. He has superintended the affairs of our lives, in such a way that we are here today. He has so many promises about how our future is brighter than our past.
Second, our love should lead to our obedience. God wants us to love Him enough to feed and care for His people. Even though we may not all be called to public preaching and group teaching, we can all do something to help. We can support Bible based preaching and teaching.
We can encourage others to come with us. We can respond to the needs of others with our resources, prayers, and sometimes referrals to other resources. Let’s work on loving God enough to respond to the needs of His people.
Read John 21:18-19
II. Solemn Prophecy. Jesus talks about how when Peter was young he dressed himself and went where he wanted to go. But when Peter is old, others will dress him and take him where he doesn’t want to go.
This was Jesus’ way of telling Peter that he would die as an old imprisoned man. This was the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.
- Trusting God’s timing. Notice in vss. 18-19 that God knows the future. Some of it is good and some of it is bad. Instead of being fearful of the bad, we should work on enjoying the moment. There are too many people who spend too much of their day feeling bad about yesterdays and/or feeling fearful about tomorrow.
Let’s work on trusting God to work things out for His people, as we enjoy this moment. When this moment is good, take some time to appreciate it. When this moment is not so good, remember that it could have been worse, and it will get better.
- Glorying God. Notice in vs. 19 that Peter was expected to die in a way that would glorify God. In like manner, we are called to go through whatever we go through in a way that brings glory and praise to God.
God doesn’t get any glory when we are filled with anger, fear, and depression about the challenges of our lives. Even in death, we can glorify God, by reminding ourselves that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Let’s work on glorifying God, no matter what is going on in our lives.
- Follow Christ. Notice in vs. 19 that Jesus told Peter to follow Him. In like manner, God is still calling us to follow Him today. We follow God to the extent that we understand and obey His word. This calls for prayerful study with a mind to obey. The support of other disciples can help us in this area.
Let’s work on being followers of Christ. Studying, serving, and giving are nice places to start. But God wants us to be familiar with and obedient to His principles for every area of our lives.
Read John 21:20-22
III. Refocused Challenge. It appears that Jesus and Peter are in front of John. Peter asks about the kind of death that John would suffer. Jesus essentially says that John’s death is not Peter’s business.
- Focus. Notice in vss. 20-22 that Jesus essentially calls Peter to focus on his assignment, instead of being distracted by what God is doing in the lives of others. In like manner, God is calling us to stay focused today.
If we are not careful, we can be distracted by what God is doing in the lives of others. If God is giving others more than us, we can be tempted to feel bad. If God is giving others less than us, we are tempted to feel too comfortable/prideful. Let’s work on focusing on doing what God is calling us to do.
Read John 21:23-25
IV. Witness’s Declaration. There is mention of a rumor about John never dying. John declares that his witness about Jesus is true. Jesus did many more things not recorded in the Gospel of John.
- Rumors. Notice in vs. 23 that people can mess things up so quickly. We should make sure we share accurate information, instead of starting or spreading false rumors.
And we should be careful what we believe. Everything said is not necessarily true. Let’s stay with the truth, instead of being distracted by rumors.
- Good works. Notice in vss. 24-25 that Jesus did many great things. As people of God, we should be known for doing many great things. We are called to be doers of God’s word.
The greatest measure of our discipleship is our loving one another. Let’s work on being loving workers for God’s glory.
Conclusion: Let’s work on loving God enough to obediently care for His people. God has much for those who obey His will.
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