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John 21 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

It seems like the end of chapter 20 is a natural ending point for John's gospel, but here we are today in chapter 21. This gospel started with a poetic prologue. Chapter 21 is sometimes referred to as John's epilogue.

  • NOT JUST SITTING BY THE DOCK IN THE BAY: Fishing is a great way for people to relax and enjoy God's creation. But relaxing is not what Peter had in mind when he informed the other disciples he was going to go fishing. Rather, it's as if Peter was going back to being a commercial fisherman once again now that he had disqualified himself as a disciple by denying Jesus. That's what makes Jesus' reinstatement of Peter so remarkable at the end of this passage.

  • SEQUEL TEASER: Good movies often end with a development that sets the stage for a sequel movie to follow. All of the gospels end this way as well, but all do it in a slightly different fashion. John uses Jesus' conversation with Peter to foreshadow what would come next in the drama of God's redemptive plan: Peter, the rock upon which the church would be built, was tasked with the church's primary occupation: feeding Jesus' sheep. We'll see Peter step up into this role in the sequel to the Gospels, the book of Acts, as he boldly proclaims God's Word to a world hungry for the good news.

  • MIXED METAPHORS: Since most of the disciples were fishermen, Jesus used a fishing metaphor when He called them to Him, that they would be fishers of men. Now Jesus is taking the fisherman Peter and commissioning him to be a shepherd, which is a metaphor for God's relationship with His people that runs throughout the entire Bible.

OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE: Isaiah 40:10-11 is a good picture of God who comes in power to shepherd His people.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Which disciples are mentioned specifically by name in this chapter? (See verse 2.)

  2. Suppose Jesus asked you today the same question He asked Peter in verse 15—“Do you love me more than these?” With what Jesus knows about your own heart, what would the “these” refer to?

Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: God is the author of the awesome Drama of Redemption, which begins in Genesis 3 and culminates in Revelation 22.

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will strengthen you to follow Jesus' simple command in v19: "Follow me."



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