John 20: 15-19 – The World Behind the Text

This week in our journey to Pentecost, we will be looking at Peter’s encounter with Jesus along the lake. We’ll be looking specifically at John 20: 15-19 and today we’ll be looking at the world behind the text:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.  18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

rootedchristWe didn’t include the earlier portion of this passage were Peter goes fishing, and the disciples go with him.  One of the interesting things that we see in this initial passage is we see Jesus eating a meal with the disciples.  This is a scene that it is easy to not get the full significance of and is something that John keeps hammering home for us.

Jesus is physically resurrected.  He is not a ghost.  He is not a spirit.  He is a real, fully, resurrected body.  We talked a few weeks ago about the early heresy of Gnosticism: the spirit was good and the body was bad.

This heresy has many dangers, but primary among them that there is a disconnect between our spiritual life and our “real” life.  It doesn’t matter what we do if we are just spirits.  All that matters is that we have spiritual lives.  That simply is not true.  Our life matters.  Our bodies matter. How we live, our choices, these things matter.

I know this is the second time in a few weeks we have talked about this, but I want you to understand how important it was to John and the early church for us to understand that Jesus was physically resurrected.  He was not just a spirit or a goes.  It was a physical resurrection.

And one day, we will be the same, we will be physically resurrected.  This body that God made will one day be fully redeemed.

Today, our choices and our lives matter.  This is a big deal to John; it’s a big deal for us as well.

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