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• Come and dine.' The word in the original means the meat which is taken in the morning, or breakfast.
13 Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.
'Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread,' &c. The design of this interview seems to have been to convince them that he had truly risen from the dead. Hence he performed a miracle before they suspected that it was he, that there might be no room to say that they had ascribed to him the power of the miracle through friendship and collusion with him. He remained with them, was with them at their meal, conversed with them, and thus convinced them that he was the same Friend who had died.
14 This is now the third time that Jesus showed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
'The third time.' See note at the end of Matthew.
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.
'Lovest thou me more than these?' That is, "lovest thou me more than these other apostles love me?" In this question Jesus refers to the profession of superior attachment to him which Peter had made before his death, Matt. xxvi. 33;" though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended." Compare John xiii. 37. Jesus slightly reproves him for that claim; reminds him of his sad and painful denial, and now puts this direct and pointed question to him as a test of the present state of his feelings. After all that Peter had had to humble him, the Saviour inquired of him what had been the effect of all on his mind, and whether it had tended to prepare him for the arduous toils in which he was about to engage. This question we should all put to ourselves. It is a matter of much importance that we should ourselves know what is the effect of the dealings of Divine Providence on our hearts, and what is our present state of feeling towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Thou knowest that I love thee. Peter now made no pretensions to a love superior to his brethren. His sad fall had convinced him of the folly of that claim. But still he could appeal to the Searcher of the heart, and say that he knew that he loved him. It is not the most confident pretensions that constitute the highest proof of love to Christ; and the best state of feeling is when we can with humility, yet with confidence, look to the Lord Jesus and say, "Thou knowest that I love thee." 'Feed my lambs.' The word here rendered 'feed' means the care afforded by furnishing nutriment for the flock. As a good shepherd provides for the wants of his flock, so the pastor in the church is required to furnish food for the
soul, or so to exhibit truth as that the soul may flourish, the faith be strengthened, and the hope confirmed. My lambs.' The church is often compared to a flock. See ch. x. 1—16. Here the expression my lambs' undoubtedly refers to the tender and the young in the christian church; to those who were young in years and in christian experience. And the Lord Jesus saw, what has been confirmed in the experience of the church, that the success of the gospel among men depended on the care which the ministry would extend to those in early life. It is in obedience to this command that Sunday schools have been established, and it is not merely, therefore, the privilege, it is the solemn duty of ministers of the gospel to countenance and patronize those schools, as well as other means for spiritual instruction.
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.
'Feed my sheep.' The word here rendered 'feed' is different from the word in the previous verse. It has the sense of governing, of judging, and of protecting the kind of faithful vigilance which a shepherd uses to guide his flock, and to make provision against their wants and dangers. It may be implied that the care needed for the church is to instruct the young; and both to instruct and govern those in advanced years. My sheep.' This term commonly denotes the church in general, without respect to age, ch. x.
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.
'The third time.' Jesus three times proposed this question, Peter had thrice denied him. Thus he tenderly admonished him of his fault; reminded him of his sin; and solemnly charged him to be faithful, and vigilant, in the discharge of the duties of the pastoral office. The reason why the Saviour addressed Peter in this manner was doubtless because Peter had just denied him—had given a most melancholy instance of the instability and weakness of his faith, and of his liability to fall. As he had thus been prominent in forsaking him, he took this occasion to give to him a special charge, and to secure his future obedience. This same charge, in substance, he had on other occasions given to all the apostles, Matt. xviii. 18, and there is not the slightest evidence here that Christ intended, as the Papists pretend, to give Peter any peculiar primacy, or eminence in the church. It is worthy of remark that the admonition was effectual.
Henceforward, Peter was one of the most firm, and unwavering of all the apostles; and thus fully justified the appellation of a rock, which the Saviour by anticipation had given him. note, John i. 42.
18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst 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 thou wast young.' When in early life, before I called you when you lived on the banks of Gennesareth. Thou girdedst thyself,' &c. The Jews in walking, or running, girded their outer garments around them that they might not be impeded. The expression here denotes freedom. He did as he pleased-he girded himself or not-he went or remained-as he chose. "When thou shalt be old.' Ancient writers say that Peter was put to death about thirty-four years after this. His precise age at that time is not known. "Thou shalt stretch forth thy hands.' When Peter was put to death, we are told that he requested that he might be crucified with his head downwardssaying that one who had denied his Lord as he had done, was not worthy to die as his Lord died. Another shall gird thee.' Another shall bind thee. The limbs of persons crucified were often bound instead of being nailed, and even the body was sometimes girded to the cross. 'Carry thee,' &c. Shall bear thee; or shall compel thee to go to prison and to death. This is not said to intimate that Peter would be unwilling to suffer martyrdom; but it stands opposed to the freedom of his early life. Though willing when compelled to do it, yet he would not seek it; and though he would not needlessly expose himself to it, yet he would not shrink from it, when it was the will of God.
19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
'By what death,' &c. The ancients say that Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards. Clemens says that he was led to crucifixion with his wife, and sustained her in her sufferings by exhorting her to remember the example of her Lord. He also adds that he died, not as the philosophers did, but with a firm hope of heaven, and patiently enduring the pangs of the cross.
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?
Who also leaned,' &c. See ch. xiii. 24, 25.
21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, an what shall this man do?
What shall this man do? This question probably means "What death shall he die ?" But it is impossible to know why Peter asked this question. Whatever the motive was, it was a curiosity which the Lord Jesus did not choose to gratify.
22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
'That he tarry.' That he live. The same word is used to express life in Phil. i. 24, 25. 1 Cor. xv. 6. Till I come.' Some have supposed this to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, others to signify that he should not die a violent death. But the plain meaning is "if I will that he should not die at all, it is nothing to thee." In this way the apostles evidently understood it, and hence raised a report that he should not die. It is remarkable that John was the last of the aposties; that he lived to nearly the close of the first century; and then died a peaceful death at Ephesus, being the only one, as is supposed, of the apostles who did not suffer martyrdom. 'What is that to thee?" From this passage we learn, 1. That our main business is to follow-that is, to obey, and imitate the Lord Jesus Christ. 2. That there are many subjects of religion on which a vain and impertinent curiosity is exercised. All such curiosity Jesus here reproves. 3. That we should go forward to whatever Jesus calls us-to persecution or death-not envying the lot of any other man-and anxious only to do the will of God.
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?
'Then went this saying,' &c. This mistake arose very naturally, from the words of Jesus, which might be easily misunderstood to mean that he should not die, and it was probably confirmed when it was seen that John survived all the other apostles. This mistake John deemed it proper to correct before he died, and has thus left on record what Jesus said, and what he meant.
24 This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
'This is the disciple,' &c. This proves that the beloved disciple was John. We know.' That is, it is known; it is universally admitted. In this case, therefore, we have the testimony of a man whose character for nearly a century was that of a man of truth-so much so, that it had become in a manner proverbial, and put beyond a question. It is impossible to believe that such a man would sit down deliberately to impose on mankind; or to write a book which was false.
25 And there are also many other things which