This event occured after the crucifixion of Jesus --- the third meeting with the disciples after he rose from the dead.  This is an affirmation of his earlier instructions naming Peter as the leader of his followers and commanding them to carry his words to all the nations and to love one another as he loved them.
       Now he was on Peter's back again.  "Do you love me?"  What a question to ask --- hadn't Peter just jumped into the water to get to him?  This time he didn't ask to walk on water.  He only wanted to get closer to his Lord.  Hadn't they just had a joyous meal together [it would appear to have been supplied, prepared and served by Jesus, himself].  But why exasperate Peter by making him acknowledge his love three times in a row?
        There appears to be at least three points that Jesus wanted to repeat to them on this third post-rising visit.  First and foremost was to reaffirm Peter as his chosen leader for the flock.  It required a public statement from Peter to confess his love in atonement for Peter's public denial of Jesus three times as the crucifixion neared.  After the third denial a cock crowed.  After Peter's avowal of his love for Jesus, then Jesus simply said:  "Follow me.]
                     THE COCK HAS CROWED -- COME FOLLOW ME!
       The second point is brought out in verses 20-22.  Jesus had just told Peter that he would endure hard times ahead.  Then Peter saw John and, in effect, asked:  "What about this guy?"  Jesus was prompt in replying:  "What concern is it of yours?"  In other words, buster, do what you are supposed to do and don't nose into another person's business in his following of me.  This applies even if I should decide that he remain until I come.  There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus did indeed come to John when the time was ripe.  I can almost visualize that glorious moment when time ends but eternity remains.
                              DO AS I HAVE SAID -- CAST OUT ENVY
       The third point is quite simple.  In verse 24, the apostle that was closest to Jesus, assures all that what Jesus has taught and done is Truth.  John, without specific appointment by Jesus or a promise from Jesus for a select position in the Kingdom, lays himself at the feet of the bridegroom of all.
                            YOU ARE MY CHILDREN -- HAVE NO FEAR

Nathan [May 2001]
JOHN  21
                                                                THE TEXT

1 After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.
2 Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee's sons, and two others of his disciples.
3 Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We also will come with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 Jesus said to them, "Children, have you caught anything to eat?" They answered him, "No."
6 So he said to them, "Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something." So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish.
7 So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea.
8 The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish.
9 When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you just caught."
11 So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
12 Jesus said to them, "Come, have breakfast." And none of the disciples dared to ask him,  "Who are you?" because they realized it was the Lord.
13 Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish.
14 This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished breakfast, 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."
16 He then 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."
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a 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.
18 Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."
19 He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me."
20 Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, "Master, who is the one who will betray you?"
21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about him?"
22 Jesus said to him, "What if I want him to remain until I come? What concern is it of yours? You follow me."
23 So the word spread among the brothers that that disciple would not die. But Jesus had not told him that he would not die, just "What if I want him to remain until I come? (What concern is it of yours?)"
24 It is this disciple who testifies to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true.
25 There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.