John 21 – What Comes After Easter?

There’s a lot that we put into Easter – getting cantatas ready, practicing dramas, decorating, having Palm Sunday and Good Friday services. These things require so much focus. But what happens after Easter? What’s the expectation once Easter is passed?

Jesus’ mission on earth is completed. He was crucified, buried and raised from the dead. So the question is: What happens next?

In John 21, the apostle John is very specific and detailed in his account of the events that occurred after the resurrection.

The Disciples Go Fishing

Jesus appeared to the disciples three times after His resurrection, and the third one is recorded in John 21. Peter and the other disciples decided to go fishing on the Sea of Tiberias (vv. 1-3). They fished all night and caught nothing, but Jesus appeared on the shore at sunrise and told them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they did, “and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish” (vv. 4-6).

Maybe this was a deja vu moment (see Luke 5:1-11) because as soon as all this happened, John said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” (v. 7). And when the disciples got to shore and unloaded the fish, no one “dared ask [Jesus], ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord” (vv. 8-12).

Jesus Talks to Peter

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Do you love me more than these?’” (v. 15). Jesus is likely drawing Peter back to what he said in Mark 14:29: “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” He’s asking if Peter loves Him more than the rest of the disciples like he claimed. And the word that Jesus uses here for “love” is agape, which means unconditional love.

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Peter’s reply to the Lord is “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you” (v. 15). But the “love” that Peter describes is phileo, a brotherly, lesser love than agape. Then Jesus asks again, “Do you love me?” (v. 16), but notice that He drops the comparison of “more than these.” He just asks if Peter agape loves Him, in general. And Jesus asks once more, “Do you love me?” (v. 17), yet this time He uses phileo instead of agape. This is probably why “Peter was grieved” – Jesus lowered the standard of Peter’s love.

Jesus knew that Peter loved Him. But He was wanting His disciple to know and reestablish his love for Him. After each question, Jesus gave a command. “Do you agape me more than these? … Feed my lambs.” “Do you agape me? … Tend my sheep.” “Do you phileo me? … Feed my sheep.”

Easter Is Over – Now What?

What does this mean for us? Well, individually, we must know Jesus. Jesus knew what was in Peter’s heart, and He knows what is in our hearts. He wants us to know Him. And He wants us to do something with that knowledge. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commanded to “make disciples of all nations,” baptizing and teaching. And in Matthew 22:34-40 He told us that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

So, Easter is over – now what? After the disciples witnessed Jesus’ death and resurrection, they told people about what they knew. For us it is the same. You can say, “I’m a believer in Jesus Christ because of so-and-so,” but you can only testify to who Jesus Christ is if you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior.

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This is what we are to do now that Easter is over: TELL

Testify to what you know. Don’t say, “Let me tell you what ____ told me about,” say, “Let me tell you what Jesus has done.”

Evidence is in your heart and life. How does your heart and life reflect who Jesus is and what He has done?

Live your life to the glory of God. You may think, “I’m not a pastor” or “I’m not a deacon.” But Jesus is telling you to live your life to the glory of God.

Love like Jesus loved.

Discussion Starters

  • Why did Jesus ask Peter three times if he loved Him?
  • What are your thoughts on the commands Jesus gave Peter?
  • What are we supposed to do now that Easter is over?
  • How do we do this?

Guest Speaker: Rev. Steve Lawson

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