June 11, 2009

A New Take on John 21 (4)

This is part four of my effort to reconstruct a more holistic context for the “love” conversation in John 21. Here’s the Timeline so far.

Jesus has a private meeting with Peter on Resurrection Sunday. Somehow, Cleopas learned about this. Later that night, Jesus breathes on the ten and his Holy Spirit comes into the disciples on Sunday, 4-5-33. Jesus leaves again so the disciples can begin practicing their new sense of his presence. Thomas also believes on 4-13-33. Some days later, Peter and others walk four days to the sea, probably at the city of Tiberias itself.

Therefore, the fish fry scene begins roughly two weeks or more since Jesus breathed on Peter. About fourteen days or more have gone by since Peter gave up his sword and his vision of Christ's earthly kingdom. That's two weeks of just sitting around and being spiritual. And no matter how wonderful that must have been, at some point, honestly, wouldn't it just drive you flat bonkers!?!

Now, this is the moment Peter gets individualistic. He stands up and says, "I". Peter says, "I'm going fishing." And the next moment happens to be one of my favorite in all of scripture. Another disciple – perhaps the beloved – says, "WE". "We're going with you.” This was a beautiful, simple solution to what could have become the first major crisis of the earliest church. But here's my point - this is the overall context of John 21.

The issue was corporate. Their survival as a group was potentially at risk. How much would have changed forever if Peter had gone home to live out the rest of his days, abiding in the Lord’s presence through the Holy Spirit, but living merely as an individual? Thank God the other disciples stuck with Peter, and thank God Jesus came out to get him… and He essentially said - Don't worry about feeding your family, Peter. I want you to focus on feeding my family.

Context matters. Now, given that context, what do we do with agape/phileo?

(To be continued…)

Series Update:
A New Take on John 21
preface 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 summary


Eric said...

Bill, I love this. Keep going!!!

Bill Heroman said...

Thanks, Eric. I will. :-)

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