Beginning in John Chapter 13 verse 37 we observe the unfolding of a tremendously powerful life event revealing the applied power of the indwelling of The Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian. Jesus Christ uses big mouth Peter in this lesson.
Let’s follow the timeline.
John 13 – Jesus shares his soon coming betrayal and end of his earthly ministry. His disciples are obviously bewildered and saddened. Peter blurts out in John 13:37 that he will follow and defend Jesus to the end even laying down his own life for Jesus.
John 13:38 Jesus admonishes Peter and in an almost mocking manner corrects Peter informing him that not only will Peter not lay down his life for Jesus, but far worse, Peter will soon deny Jesus three times before the cock crows.
Immediately following this sorrowful and sobering conversation, In John chapter 14, Jesus comforts the disciples by promising them that he is going to heaven to prepare our eternal home with many mansions and in verses 16 and 17 we are promised the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That we will not be left without comfort.
In John 18:15 we read of the tragic account of Peter denying Jesus three times before the cock crows. Here we see how truly weak and pathetic poor little Peter really is. This is a stark reminder to us that without the power of the Holy Spirit we are all like Peter.
After we read through the Crucifixion and Resurrection we come to John chapter 21. It is interesting to note that it is Peter who jumps out of the boat to embrace Jesus. It is also noteworthy that this is the 3rd time the disciples have seen Jesus after his resurrection.
Here in John 21 Jesus asks Peter Three times if Peter loves him. The first and second time Jesus asks Peter if he loves him, Jesus uses the word Agape
for Love. But Peter replies, “yes Lord you know I love you”.Peter is using the word Phileo
to express love. Jesus then asks Peter the third time if Peter loves him using Phileo to express love. It is here we realize that Jesus knows Peter is incapable of understanding and expressing the perfection of godly love. Therefore Jesus meets Peter at Peter’s understanding.
.Why couldn’t Peter understand? We can see that Peter had not been filled with the Holy Spirit since this was before Pentecost, and therefore he could not comprehend agape since only the things of the spirit can be understood by the spirit.
But what happened to Peter after Pentecost? Take a look at these 2 verses that take place after Pentecost where Peter and the others receive the Holy Spirit… Acts 2:14-38
. Here our once cowardly Peter comes forth with the boldness of a lion. And also note 1 Peter 1:22.
Here we see Peter now commands agape love after being full of the Holy Ghost.
1 Peter 1:22: Seeing ye have purified G48 your G5216 souls G5590 in G1722 obeying G5218 the truth G225 through G1223the Spirit G4151 unto G1519 unfeigned G505 love of the brethren G5360, see that ye love G25 one another G240 with G1537 a pure G2513 heart G2588 fervently G1619: