“The president wants to come into your home and sit at your fireside for a little fireside chat,” announced Robert Trout on the airwaves of CBS in March 1933. It was the first of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous radio talks addressing the problems and successes of the Great Depression, and later, World War II. President Roosevelt had not originally planned a title for these broadcasts, but the name “Fireside Chat,” coined by CBS station manager Harold Butcher in reference to the president’s conversational speaking style, stuck. During President Roosevelt’s twelve years in office, the Fireside Chats connected the White House to ordinary American homes as never before.1
Franklin Roosevelt took office at the start of the golden age of radio. When he was first elected in 1932, forty-one percent of U.S. cities had their own radio station. Five years into Roosevelt’s presidency, nearly ninety percent of the U.S. population had access to a radio. Radio was fast overtaking newspapers as America’s major source of news, as it did not require literacy to enjoy or even money to buy—just a friend or neighbor willing to let others tune in. Walking down the street in cities and small towns, one could hear music, radio dramas, comedy hours, or news drifting out of open windows. By the end of the decade, ninety percent of Americans said they would sooner give up movies than radio.2
The primacy of radio as a source of entertainment and news gave President Roosevelt an opportunity no U.S. president had yet had: to speak directly to broad sections of the American public without having his message filtered through the press. Presidents before him had always had to rely on newspaper reporters and editors to convey their words to the public, leaving their original message open to editorial slant or misquoting. Live radio, by contrast, left no room for misquotation.
During his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt used periodic Fireside Chats to tell the public what government was doing about the Great Depression and later, the second World War. During the years of the New Deal President Roosevelt addressed the nation on-air about twice a year, announcing each chat a week or two in advance to ensure a wide listenership. He defended government programs, answered his critics, expressed encouragement through difficult national times, and requested cooperation with his policies. 3
With the United States’ entry into World War II, President Roosevelt started to broadcast about every three months, feeling that it was important to update the public frequently on the progress of the war. His frustration with information provided by the press was constant throughout his time in office: a reporter once asked if he planned to discuss recent talks with Winston Churchill on air, to which the president replied, “It’s up to you fellows. If you fellows give the country an exceedingly correct picture, I won’t go on the radio.” 4
For many Americans, the Fireside Chats, delivered in President Roosevelt’s calm, measured voice, were a source of comfort—a reassurance that during the crises of the Great Depression and World War II, a steady hand was on the wheel. The first Fireside Chat, updating the electorate on what the federal government was doing to address the banking crisis of 1933, came just eight days into Roosevelt’s first administration, direct from the White House to half a million listeners. The sense of connection with the president was immediate. A flood of letters from citizens across the country inundated the White House Mail Room in the months after that first on-air address, most expressing strong support for the president’s words. One letter in particular summed up the general spirit of the response: “Think of having the president talk to us in our parlor…” 5
Judy loves to have campfires
We’ve had many, here at the pavilion
We’ve also had several at various campgrounds
Sitting around campfire provides an incredible opportunity to relax and talk
We’ve had some really meaningful talks with our children and their friends around a campfire
A least of couple of times we’ve had campfires at Creation Music Festival
Those campfires have brought out some deep conversations about the things of God as youth are away from their usual surroundings and perhaps more open to hearing from the Lord
How many of us have experienced those deep, meaningful conversations around a campfire at Creation?
Perhaps we remember a youth giving their life to Jesus Christ for the first time (can you remember their name(s)?)
Maybe it was a Creation campfire conversation that sparked the desire to enter full-time ministry
Every one of us can probably think of a time when we had a meaningful conversation around a campfire
Even if it wasn’t around a campfire, we can probably recall a time when we had a deep conversation with someone about Jesus Christ and God
Jesus had a fireside chat prepared for Peter and the other disciples after their breakfast together on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter had publicly voiced his allegiance to Jesus, even if everyone else fell away. He also publicly denied Jesus three times. With incredible mercy, Jesus wants to restore Peter publicly, so that he could carry on the mission of the Gospel. Through this fireside chat, Jesus helped Peter understand what his responsibility would be concerning taking care of His flock (sheep). The principle Jesus shared with Peter, included the other disciples and you and me. John wants us to understand that . . .
BIG IDEA – Loving Jesus means loving His people.
GOD (John 21:15-17)
1st Question & Answer (v. 15)
John lets us know when Jesus’ fireside chat took place
Jesus had prepared breakfast for them and had served them and cared of them
Jesus took care of Peter’s physical needs, before dealing with his spiritual needs
It’s interesting to note that Jesus modeled physically what He was going to challenge Peter to do spiritually
Jesus fed Peter and the other disciples, who were His sheep
He served them and took care of them as His sheep
Only after the disciples were taken care of, did Jesus move from the physical to the spiritual
Jesus addressed Peter in the presence of the other disciples
“Peter had boasted of his reliability in the presence of his fellow disciples.” [Carson, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Gospel According to John, 675]
John 13:8, “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
John 13:37-38, Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!
John 18:10-11, Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
Mark 14:29-31, Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.” “I tell you the truth.” Jesus answered, “today – yes, tonight – before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.” But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
His denial of Jesus was done publicly
It stands to reason that his restoration, by Jesus, should also be done publicly [Carson, 675]
Jesus had met with Peter privately, prior this public restoration, to deal with Peter’s private sin
Luke 24:34, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
1 Corinthians 15:5, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
“Private sin should be confessed in private, public sins in public.” [Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament, Volume 1, 397]
Jesus uses Peter’s given name, Simon, which reminds us of when Jesus initially called him to follow (John 1:42)
Jesus does not call him Peter (the Rock) as this point, because he was broken
He had denied knowing Jesus three times
Luke 22:60-62, Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Jesus knew Peter’s strength and character and how he would lead the establishment of the first Christian church
Jesus knew the importance of restoring Peter, so that the other disciples would follow his leadership
Matthew 16:15-18, “But what about you?” he asked, “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
“Do you truly love me more than these?”
Jesus is asking Peter if he loves Him more than the other disciples, who were present, love Him?
Before Peter’s denial of Jesus, he probably would have answered, “Yes!” (it would have been emphatic with confidence)
“Of course I love you more than these guys love you!”
That’s not the case as Peter answers Jesus
That’s what we see next
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Peter doesn’t try to compare his love for Jesus with any of the other disciples love for Jesus
He knows that his pride and arrogance got him in trouble before
“He does not try to answer in terms of the relative strength of his love as compared with that of other disciples. He appeals rather to the Lord’s knowledge. Despite my bitter failure, he says in effect, I love you – you know that I love you.” [Carson, 677]
Greek words for love
Some scholars and preachers have pointed out the use of two different Greek words for love, in Jesus’ questions and Peter’s answers
They attempt to make this difference more significant than it should be
In Jesus’ first two questions, John uses the Greek word agapaō, which has been considered to be the stronger form of, “to love” – it is self-giving and self-sacrificing love
In Peter’s response, all three times, and in Jesus’ final question, John uses the Greek word phileō, which is thought to be the weaker form of, “to love” – it is a friendship love or brotherly love
It would be nice to make a distinction between these two Greek words and apply that to our lives today, but we have to consider how these two words were used by John in the rest of his Gospel
He uses them interchangeably throughout his Gospel, so there really isn’t a distinction between the two Greek words [Michaels, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The Gospel of John, 1043]
He uses both Greek words for the Father’s love for the Son [Michaels, 1043]
John 3:35, The Father loves (agapaō) the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
John 5:20a, For the Father loves (phileō) the Son and shows him all he does.
He also uses both Greek words for the disciples’ love for Jesus [see 14:15 (agapaō); 16:27 (phileō)] [Michaels, 1043]
He uses both for Jesus’ love for Lazarus [see 11:3 (phileō), 5 (agapaō)] [Michaels, 1043]
Finally, he uses both for Jesus’ love for “the disciple whom he loved” (see 13:23 (agapaō); 20:2 (phileō)] [Michaels, 1043]
The main point of the passage is that Jesus is restoring Peter after his denial and not the use of two Greek words for love
After Peter affirms his love for Jesus, Jesus gives him this command
“Feed my lambs”
Lambs and sheep are again used interchangeably throughout the Gospel of John, so there probably isn’t some hidden meaning there that needs to be mined or harvested
Jesus had just fed Peter, physically, and now He is commanding Peter to feed His sheep, spiritually
This will be significant after Jesus ascends to heaven and Pentecost takes place
Jesus asks the same question a second time
2nd Question & Answer (v. 16)
The only difference in Jesus’ question, this second time, is that He omits, “more than these”
The restoration of Peter has begun its second phase
Peter’s answer is exactly the same as his first one
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
“Take care of my sheep”
The verb can also be translated, “Shepherd or feed”
Jesus completes the restoration of Peter by asking him the same question a third time
3rd Question & Answer (v. 17)
The only difference in the question this time is found in the Greek
Jesus uses phileō instead of agapaō
John tells us that Peter is hurt when Jesus asks him a third time
Why was Peter hurt or grieved?
“It was hardly because of the change in the Greek verbs. Besides, that argument would hardly be viable if the original conversation would have been in Aramaic. A mere glance at the text tells the reader the reason. Peter experienced a major ‘undoing’ (cf. Isa 6:5, KJV) of his self-assertiveness because Jesus asked him ‘the third time’ (21:17) about his love. The third time did it.” [Borchert, The New American Commentary, John 12-21, 335]
Peter adds an important part to his answer this time
PRINCIPLE #1 – Jesus is all-knowing (omniscient)!
“Lord, you know all things”
This is an important principle for followers of Jesus Christ to embrace
Psalm 139:1-4, O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.
There is nothing in our lives that Jesus does not know about
Whatever we’re struggling with (health, emotions, relationships, finances) Jesus knows about it
Some of us may feel like Jesus doesn’t know about our situation, because we feel like He is doing anything about it
That doesn’t void this principle or truth – our feelings don’t void truth
Jesus answers our cries with Yes, No, or Wait
We never struggle with Yes
We normally struggle with No and Wait
Sometimes the struggle is to strengthen us
Because Jesus is all-knowing, He knows what is best for us
He knows what will strengthen us and draw us to Him
He knows what we are able to handle with His grace
He knew how Job was going to react to the attacks from Satan
He knows how we’ll react to the attacks from Satan
We can trust Him to do what’s best for us, because He knows everything
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Trust in Jesus’ ability to know everything about me and what I’m going through and to guide me by His Spirit.
Even though Peter is hurt and grieved that Jesus asks Him the same question a third time, he affirms His love for Jesus based on Jesus’ knowledge of him
Jesus gives the same command again
“Feed my sheep”
Jesus wants Peter to take care of the other disciples and the new converts that will be part of His flock
We know that Peter took this restoration seriously and understood his responsibility to take care of Jesus’ flock
1 Peter 5:1-4, To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.
Read Acts 20:28-31
“Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11), the Great Shepherd (Heb. 13:20-21), and the Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4). Pastors are ‘under-shepherds’ who must obey Him as they minister to the flock. The most important thing the pastor can do is to love Jesus Christ. If he truly loves Jesus Christ, the pastor will also love His sheep and tenderly care for them.” [Wiersbe, 398]
Pastor Marc and I love Jesus Christ
We love all you very much and we strive to tenderly care for you
Loving Jesus means loving His people.
PRINCIPLE #2 – Jesus is merciful.
Mercy is the goodness of God providing a way for man’s guilt to be erased
Ephesians 2:4-5, But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.
Numbers 14:18, “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.
Peter experienced Jesus mercy as He gently restored him to leadership after his failure
You and I can experience the great mercy of Jesus when we fail Him
You and I are human and fallible
Even as followers of Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit living in us, we will sometimes choose to give in to sin’s temptation
When we acknowledge that sin and confess, Jesus promises to forgive us
1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness
Are you struggling with unconfessed sin?
Are you ready to experience Jesus’ mercy by confessing those sins to Him today?
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Confess my sins to Jesus and experience His mercy and forgiveness.
If you’re not a follower of Jesus Christ, you can still experience His mercy and forgiveness for the first time
PRINCIPLE #3 – Before Jesus can be followed and served, the sin in our lives has to be addressed.
Peter experienced that also through his restoration process
Jesus had met him privately prior to this public fireside chat
Jesus wants to meet you privately to deal with your sin, so you can follow and serve Him
You and I are born in sin (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)
Before we can follow and serve Jesus we have to recognized our sin (The Good Person Test)
Repentance is turning away from our sin and following Jesus and His ways
God loves us so much that He made a way to deal with our sin (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-4)
Romans 10:9-10, 13, That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved . . . for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Are you ready to take that step today?
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead, so I can be saved from my sins.
PRINCIPLE #4 – Following Jesus and loving Jesus mean accepting responsibility for Jesus’ people.
We know that God raises up some individuals to serve in spiritual leadership roles, but listen to what Paul says about their role as he writes to the Ephesian believers
Ephesians 4:11-13, It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Spiritual leaders are to prepare God’s people for works of service that will build up the body of Christ
The various discipleship opportunities that Pastor Marc and I offer is to help prepare you all to serve one another
We also serve together with you through the various food pantries we help with
The Holy Spirit gives each follower of Jesus at least one, if not more, spiritual gifts to help serve the church and those who are part of it
Romans 12:4-6, Just as each one of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.
1 Corinthians 12:7, Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
Loving Jesus means loving His people.
#4 – My Next Step Today Is To: Identify my spiritual gifts and commit to using them within the body of Christ, so that Jesus’ people will be taken care of.