John 21. Life in exile

I often find myself wondering how the church can have a future. We were founded by diverse, broken and discredited people and we are made up of diverse, broken and discredited people. We live in exile as strangers who are out of step with the world around us in a place where Jesus is no longer physically present. John 21 anticipates this time and the question Jesus still asks us: “Do you love me?” and if we know our wrongs and can answer like Peter: “You know everything… you know I love you.” then there is salvation, there is the Kingdom of God changing even us in this world. What are we to do now? “Feed my sheep and follow me.” We are so different but we share this love and this task. This is the only way the church has ever had a future.

Michael Flynn


John 21

None dared ask: “… who are you?”
  • The resurrection appearances of Jesus have been in Jerusalem but now in Galilee of the Gentiles (Mk 14:28, 16:7)
  • Who were the sons of Zebedee? (Mk 4:21)
  • What do you think is the symbolism of fishing at night for nothing and the nets not breaking though they are over-full? The symbolism of the number of fish caught seems only to be; that is the number of fish caught!
  • Was it hard to see in the early dawn or, were the disciples kept from recognising Jesus or, was there something different about him? (vv4,12)
  • When else in this gospel did the disciple whom Jesus loved (and who was a great friend of Peter’s) have quick insight into what Jesus was doing?
Do you love me more than these? (15-19)
  • Why does Jesus ask Peter these questions in front of the other disciples? Why three times?
  • What does: “…love me more than these?” mean? (v7, 13:36-38)
  • Who are the sheep/lambs and who is the shepherd? (cp 1 Peter 5:1-4)
  • What counts as the sign of love? (14:15-31)
  • Why did Jesus want to hurt Peter? (v17) How would this hurt help Peter’s future life?
  • Peter wanted, at one point, to die for Jesus – why wasn’t that possible?
  • What would it mean for Peter to follow Jesus?
  • Why was Christianity founded by discredited men?
We know his testimony is true (20-25)
  • Why do we compare ourselves to others?
  • What is good and bad about this habit?
  • Peter misunderstands Jesus (vv 22-23) as if Jesus was speaking about John. Who was Jesus really talking about and what was he really saying?
  • In verse 24 the original manuscript apparently bore two different styles of handwriting. Why is more than one witness important in this book?
  • In verse 25 why do you think John has been selective? Why did he write this book? Why this book and not a variant of Matthew, Mark or Luke? How does the phrase “the disciple whom Jesus loved” help us to understand the value of this book? (13:23, 20, 24; 20:2; 21:7)
  • Peter became a pastor and was martyred within three decades; John was to witness and to die in old age in Ephesus after caring for Mary (Jesus mother) as his own mother (Eusebius)