Pentecost – 2018: The Fire of the Spirit in John’s gospel… (3) [+ Audio]

Pentecost 3How does the Risen Jesus, who breathed on the disciples and shared out the Spirit, continue the purifying work of the Spirit? He engages with Simon Peter to disclose the process of purification working in all of us and for all of us.

Simon Peter and the boys went fishing. Nada. Jesus hailed them with word about casting their nets. Lots of fish! “It is the Lord!” SP swims to shore. Jesus feeds them sushi. Jesus speaks with Simon Peter. He talks him through his purification. Jesus holds up a mirror of Simon’s life to him, not by blaming him or railing at him or by overlooking his denial and betrayal. He asks him whether he loves Jesus.

Chapter Twenty-One: When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love [agapao] me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love [phileo] you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’  A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love [agapao] me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love [phileo] you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’  He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love [phileo] 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 [phileo] you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep.  

Peter will reveal his love for Jesus by tending the sheep. 

Chapter Twenty-One: 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.’  (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’

Peter will reveal his love for Jesus by going where he does not wish to go. These are the terms of his discipleship for this is the first time Jesus said to him, “Follow me” in the gospel of John.

Chapter Twenty-One: Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’  When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what about him?’  Jesus said to him, ‘If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!’

Nosey ol’ Peter will reveal his love for Jesus by ‘staying on his side of the street’. Jesus and the Spirit are one in acting for the purification of the disciples. Amazing!


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