My “Reading The Gospel Of John” Interruptions were supposed to end with Part 2, but I can’t stop (pray for me)! Below is Part 3 …
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was going to betray him (John 6:68-71, ESV).
The Gospel of John is one of the last written books of the Bible. The Apostle John also wrote 1, 2, and 3 John along with the book of Revelation – all written at the end of his life.
John lived a long time. He was the last apostle living.
John had decades to think about his time with Jesus and the other apostles, and he gives nuance to the grace of spiritual formation in the lives of the apostles not found in the other Gospels.
The forgiveness taught in the Gospel of John has relevance to the end times when many will be tempted to forsake Jesus.
Consider the following passage …
If you see a fellow believer sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death (1 John 5:16-17, NLT).
The Apostle Paul had to be thinking about the fate of both Peter and Judas when he wrote the end of 1 John. He indicates there are beliefs and actions that can lead to death for eternity.
We know we will stumble, but how can we be Peter and not Judas?
So when he [Jesus] had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly” (John 13:26-27).
Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times!” (John 13:37-38, ESV).
John explains the difference between Judas and Peter …
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:8-9).
As a student of the Gospels, I’ve been fascinated by these verses found only in the Gospel of John.
Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not” (John 18:15-17).
Tradition explains that the Apostle John’s family were wealthy fishmongers and well-known in the temple area. John was the “another apostle” who let Peter into the courtyard of the high priest.
And … and … the intonation of this scene indicates that Peter first denied Jesus as he entered the courtyard – right in the presence of John. The Apostle John did not deny Jesus, but he didn’t stand up for Jesus either.
John kept silent while Peter denied Jesus!!!
No wonder the Apostle John writes …
If anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins (1 John 2:1-2).
We know the fate of Judas. His sin did lead to a literal death.
But Jesus personally restored Peter.
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17).
John didn’t condemn Peter’s betrayal in his Gospel. He was guilty too!
John wrote about Judas and Peter because we all stumble. All will be tempted to deny Jesus. Including Peter, John, and (insert your name).
The Greek word for “gospel” means “good news”! I love reading the Gospel of John!