[After Jesus' resurrection he began to appear at different times revealing himself as the risen Lord to his followers. First he appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:11), then again with the other women (Matt. 28:9). Mark 16 and Luke 24 record his appearance to two 'disciples' who were not among the 12 Apostles but were close enough to tell the others (Luke 24:33). There is also an unrecorded appearance to Peter that is mentioned indirectly in Luke 24:34, and 1 Cor. 15:5. After that, Jesus began to appear to his 11 remaining disciples, first to everyone but Thomas in John 20:19
21 So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
This passage is generally called the commissioning of the Apostles.
Then he appeared to all eleven in John 20:26. In John 20:29 Jesus speaking to Thomas says "Because you have seen me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
John 21 opens with what is called the "Breakfast by the sea". Peter and some of the disciples were fishing and Jesus appears and asks "Children, have you any food?" The say they have caught nothing so Jesus tells them to cast the net again, and it comes up full. When Peter realizes it is the Lord he put on his outer garment and jumps into the water, to get to shore ahead of the boat that was just 100 yards away. They arrive to find Jesus has a fire going with fish and bread cooked. Jesus then feeds them the food he has prepared. The story ends with:
14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
By this time Jesus had appeared at least 6 times, so it seems John was referring to Jesus appearing to the main group of his original 12 disciples. Remember Jesus usually had other followers or disciples with him but he had specifically chosen the 12.
13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles: 14 Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; 15 Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; 16 Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor.
Since Jesus had already appeared to, and commissioned his remaining disciples, why had Peter lead them back to their prior work as fishermen? It would seem Peter had some doubts about his future as a preacher.
story that we did not really cover in detail. It is generally called "the denial of Peter".
31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
' I will strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
32 But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."
33 Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble."
34 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."
35 Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!"
Later in the chapter, as Jesus is being questioned by the Sanhedrin Council we see Jesus' prediction come true.
69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."
71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."
72 But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"
73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.
Peter's failure in the council courtyard, has perhaps left him to question his calling, or at least his ability to serve the Lord. And this is how we find Peter In John 21 after Jesus serves them breakfast.
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, 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."
[When Jesus asked "do you love me" the Greek word for love is Agapao referring to the unconditional love or devotion, with which God loves us. He also said "more than these", meaning these things. What things, the things there around him, his boat, his nets, his friends, his life as a fisherman. Peter answered "you know I love you" but his word for love in Greek was Phileo, which is brotherly love or affection. Jesus replies "Feed my lambs" the greek word for feed is bosko which means to feed and care for the young sheep.]
16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?"
He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You."
He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
[Again Jesus asks for devotion and Peter offers affection. Jesus tells him to poimainó tend or shepherd the flock.]
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, 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 all things; You know that I love You."
Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.
[The 3rd time Jesus uses Peter's word for love phileo. As if to say "Peter I'll take you as you are, but I'll make you what you need to be". Peter acted annoyed that Jesus asked him three times, but remember how many times Peter had denied him. And Jesus told him to feed, bosko or tend and feed the flock.]
18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish." 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."
[Before Peter denied Jesus, he had promised to die for him. Here Jesus seems to indicate that Peter would glorify God when he would be martyred for preaching Jesus. Early Church tradition holds that Peter was crucified upside down, for the faith. Just as Jesus did when he first called Peter, he ends with the words "follow me".]
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?" 21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"
22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
[Finally Peter looks at John and says "Hey Jesus what about him", If I will die for you, what will John do. But Jesus had a different plan for John. Church tradition holds that John was the last surviving Apostle. The story goes that the Romans tried to kill John by boiling him alive in oil, but he survived. And the Romans were so freaked out by this, that they stranded him on the Island of Patmos, where he would receive the vision and write the final Revelation of Jesus Christ, the last book of the Bible. Jesus says to Peter "what is that to you? You follow me". Don't worry about John, just follow me. Most of you know that Peter did become a preacher, and he was the Pastor or shepherd of the Church at Jerusalem. What a great lesson for us how Jesus took a servant, who had failed, fed him, renewed his calling and restored him to service.]