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Passion Week

Jesus Reinstates Peter

Scripture

John 21:15-25

Similar Passage

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish

Commentary

After his denial of Christ, Peter does not know what to do with himself.  While he knows that Jesus has risen from the dead, he finds himself fishing instead of fishing for men.  Even worse, the other disciples have followed him.

Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him.  While this is symbolic of the three times that Peter denied Him, there is more behind the questions.  There are two words for love used in the passage.  Jesus asks Peter if he "agape's" Him - that is, love Him unconditionally.  Peter responds by saying that he "phileo's" Jesus - loves Him like a brother.

Peter has learned the lesson of thinking before speaking.  He loves Jesus but isn't willing to say that he loves Him unconditionally because he's already demonstrated that he is prone to missteps in his faith.  This is actually a step forward in his development rather than a step back.  He realizes that his faith is not as strong as he thought.

As Jesus reinstates Peter, He reassures him that his faith would stand strong.  Peter would stand strong enough that he too would be crucified.  Aside from the "arms stretched out" comment, it's difficult to determine that Jesus is talking about Peter being crucified but apparently Peter understood it as he asked about how John would die.  According to church tradition, Peter was martyred around 67 AD.  The Romans were going to crucify him but he stated that he didn't deserve to die in the same way as his Lord so they crucified him upside down.

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