A Nice Picnic and Some Awkward Conversation
What is your favorite picnic food?
Some interesting things: the number of fish are counted; the disciples didn't recognize Jesus at first, but then knew it was him; Peter gets completely dressed and then jumps into the water. Peter often leaps without looking, which leads us to today's conversation.
Why are the disciples back up in Galilee? When we are surrounded with uncertainty, don't we also look for the familiar? Did the disciples think their time with Jesus was over? Were they confused about why they had been following Jesus in the first place?
Asking the men to throw their nets off the other side of the boat is a throwback story to Luke 5:1-11.
Peter knew that Jesus heard him deny Jesus. Even though Peter is bounding toward the shore to see Jesus, wouldn't you expect the conversation after the denial would be difficult?
In Mark 16:7, the angel tells the women to go and tell the disciples "and Peter." Why would Peter be singled out specifically? Had he resigned his discipleship with the denial? Even if he had lost his status as being a disciple, was he not still chosen by Jesus? Jesus had a job for Peter.
Why is Peter asked three times if he loves Jesus? Is it because of the three denials? Notice that Jesus isn't calling him by his nickname, "Peter," but by the more formal, "Simon, son of John." Why is this?
When Jesus asks, "Do you love me more than these?" what does he mean by these?
There are two different meanings of the word love here: Agape, which is the unconditional love we get from God; Philia, which is the love shared between siblings and best friends.
1. Jesus asks Peter if he loves him unconditionally (agape). Peter responds he loves Jesus in a brotherly way (philia).
Why does Peter not think he can answer with unconditional love? Is it a feeling of being unworthy; is it a feeling of being inauthentic? Even though Peter doesn't feel like he can offer his unconditional love, Jesus still believes in Peter; still has a job for him.
2. Jesus again asks about unconditional love; Peter again answers with brotherly love.
3. Jesus now asks about brotherly love; Peter agrees with brotherly love.
There is little doubt that Peter eventually discovered unconditional love for Jesus, but he was not ready at this time. But Jesus was not going to give up on him. Instead, Jesus was willing to meet Peter where he was.