B i b l e   S t u d y




Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

To see more Bible study outlines go to page two: More Bible Study Outlines.



April 15, 2018


SCRIPTURE: John 21:15-25


KEY VERSE: So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (John 21:15)




A. The preceding chapters of John’s Gospel reveal many things that no doubt greatly troubled the disciples.


1. Jesus told them He was going away (John 7:34; 8:21; 12:8, 35; 13:33), and that He was going to die (John 12:32-33).


2. He said there was a traitor among them (John 13:21), and that Peter, “the rock,” would “disown” Him (John 13:38).


3. The Lord’s prediction regarding Peter’s failure was very specific.


B. Just prior to Christ’s crucifixion, Peter boldly asserted that he was ready to lay down his life for the Lord (see Matthew 26:33, 35; Luke 22:33; John 13:37).


1. But Jesus stated that when the crucial hour of commitment came, Peter would utterly fail to keep that promise.


2. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice” (John 13:38).


3. The prophecy was perfectly fulfilled (see John 18:16-18, 25-27).


C. But Peter would not be alone, for Jesus told the disciples that on the night of His betrayal, they would “all fall away” (Matthew 26:31).


1. They would all fail Him.


2. As this Bible study shows, however, the failure of Christ’s followers is not without remedy.


3. Repentance always activates God’s forgiveness and restores the fallen to fellowship with Him.


I. FEED MY LAMBS. (John 21:15-17)


A. The Lord Asked Peter A Question. (John 21:15)


(John 21:15) So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.


INSIGHT: It has often been pointed out that TWO DIFFERENT WORDS FOR LOVE ARE USED in these verses. We might paraphrase verse 15 as follows: “Simon, son of Jonah, do you LOVE Me more than these other disciples love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I am FOND OF YOU.” Peter would no longer boast that he would never forsake the Lord, even if all the other disciples did. He had learned his lesson.


When they were warm and had eaten, Jesus turned to Peter and dealt with spiritual matters. Peter had publicly denied the Lord three times. Since then, he had repented and had been restored to fellowship with the Lord. In these verses, Peter’s restoration is publicly acknowledged by the Lord.


“Feed My lambs,” Jesus said. A very practical way of demonstrating love for Christ is by feeding the young ones in His flock. It is interesting to note that the conversation had changed from fishing to shepherding. The former speaks of the works of evangelism; while the latter suggests teaching and pastoral care.


B. The Lord Asked Peter A Second Question. (John 21:16)


(John 21:16) He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.


For the second time, the Lord asked Peter if he LOVED Him. Peter replied the second time, with genuine distrust of himself, “You know that I am FOND of You.” This time The Lord said to him, “Tend My sheep.” There are lambs and sheep in Christ’s flock, and they need the loving care of one who loves the Shepherd.


C. The Lord Asked Peter A Third Question. (John 21:17)


(John 21:17) He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.


Just as Peter had denied the Lord three times, so he was given three opportunities to confess Him. “Simon, son of Jonas, are you FOND of me?” This time, Peter appealed to the fact that Jesus was God and therefore knew all things.


He said the third time, “You know that I am FOND of You.” And for the last time, he was told that he could demonstrate this by feeding Christ’s sheep. In this passage, the underlying lesson is that LOVE FOR CHRIST is the only acceptable motive for serving Him.


II. FOLLOW ME. (John 21:18-23)


A. Jesus’ Statement. (John 21:18-19)


1. Peter’s Life Was Revealed By Jesus. (John 21:18)


(John 21:18) Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.


When Peter was younger, he had great freedom of movement. He went where he wished. But the Lord here told him that at the end of his life, he would be arrested, bound, and carried off to execution.


2. Peter’s Death Was Revealed By Jesus. (John 21:19)


(John 21:19) This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.


Jesus is telling Peter that he is to become a martyr. Peter had said he would lay down his life for the Lord Jesus, and that is exactly what he will do.


This explains verse 18. Peter would glorify God by dying as a martyr. He who had denied the Lord would be given courage to lay down his life for Him. This verse reminds us that we can glorify God in death as well as in life. Then Jesus exclaimed, “Follow thou Me!” As He said it, Jesus must have started to leave.


B. Peters’ Question. (John 21:20-21)


1. Peter Began to Follow The Lord.  (John 21:20)


(John 21:20) Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?


It seems that Peter began to go along with the Lord, and then turning around, saw John following too. Here John paused to identify himself as the one who also had leaned on Jesus’ breast at the Passover Supper, and had asked the name of the betrayer.


2. Peter Asked A Question About John. (John 21:21)


(John 21:21) Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?


As Peter saw John, the thought probably crossed his mind, “What about John? Is he going to die as a martyr too? Or will he still be alive when the Lord comes back again?” He asked the Lord concerning John’s future.


Isn’t this just like this Simon Peter? He says, “Now you have told me what I am going to do; tell me what John is going to do.”


C. Christ’s Response. (John 21:22-23)


(John 21:22-23) 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. 23 Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?


Jesus is saying, “Look, Simon Peter, you are going to die for me. What John does is none of your business. Even if he lives until I return, that does not affect what you are to do. You follow Me!


The Lord’s answer was that Simon Peter should not be concerned about John’s last days. Even if he were to survive until the Second Coming of Christ, this should not make any difference to Peter. Many failures in Christian service arise from disciples’ being more occupied with one another than with the Lord Himself.


INSIGHT: Here is something interesting. Ignorance, or lack of knowledge, is no excuse for not serving the Lord. Some people say they will not serve the Lord if they cannot get all their questions answered. There are a lot of things that we won’t know. There are many things that we don’t need to know. There are things that are not our business to know. The important thing is to follow the LORD.


Jesus did not reveal what would happen to John. He simply said that IF IT WERE HIS WILL FOR JOHN NOT TO DIE, that did not affect Peter’s service or Peter’s obligation to follow Jesus. That is all important for us to see.




A. Make Christ The Lord Of Your Life. (John 21:24)


(John 21:24) This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.


Peter wrote in 2 Peter. 1:14: “Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.” Tradition says that he was crucified, but that he asked to be crucified with his head down because he was not worthy to be crucified with his head up, as his Lord had been crucified.


Friends, the Lord Jesus Christ must be the Lord of our MIND, the Lord of our HEART, and the Lord of our WILL. If He is not the Lord of ALL, then He cannot be the Lord of our LIFE.


B. Proclaim Who Christ Is And What Christ Did. (John 21:25)


(John 21:25) And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.


John is not exaggerating when he says the whole world could not hold the books about Him if it all could be written.


The Lord Jesus Christ is (1) the One who died on the cross (2) and rose again from the dead. (3) He is the eternal God, our Savior.


Do You Love Me
By Mart DeHaan


Do you love Me more than these.  – John 21:15


·        When our daughter was 4 years old, her little legs were propelling her through the house one day.


As she headed toward the front door, she suddenly hit the brakes and wheeled around. With a sense of childish urgency she called out, “Mom, I love you!” Then she was off and running again. She could really melt a parent’s heart!


·        Imagine that same scene but with different circumstances; suppose she had just been told for the third time to come to the table.


Now press the instant replay button. Watch her stop and say, “I love you,” only to spin around and run out the front door. In that setting those words would not have warmed anyone’s heart.


·        Our Lord also looks for an “I love You” from His children that is backed up by action.


When He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:15), Christ was not satisfied with a casual, “Sure, Lord, You know I do!”


He responded to His disciple’s reply by saying, in effect, “Peter, if you love Me, care for those I care for. Peter, if you love Me, follow Me.”


·        What would you say if the Lord were to ask you that same question?


Would you answer, “Yes, Lord, I love You”? Those words will delight the Father’s heart if you are an obedient child.


More love to Thee, O Christ, more love to Thee!
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to Thee,
More love to Thee, more love to Thee! -- Prentiss


 -- Adapted from Mart DeHaan, Our Daily Bread, June 1, 1999




·        Even though Simon Peter sinned, he did not leave the fellowship of the disciples.


Because Peter remained in a place where Jesus could restore him, he experienced more than he could ever have hoped.


·        As Christians we, also, must remain where we can experience Jesus’ restoring presence.


We must have receptive spirits, humble hearts, truthful minds, and yielded strength.


We must wait for the Lord, seek Him, and trust that He will restore us in God’s way, in God’s time.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “To love God is to obey God.”


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.



E-mail: Ronald Purkey


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