Red Letter Conversations - Discussion 15

Discovering life in the words of Jesus
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The Comeback Kid

Jesus Speaks to the Problem of Personal Failure


Pray together for the group meeting, and any pressing needs within the group.


Each week you’ll spend some time reviewing the previous week’s lesson. Did anything happen last week that brought the lesson to mind, and what did you learn from it?


Watch the following discussion-starter video. It’ll set the topic of discussion for the group.

John 21:1-22

  1. One person will first read the scripture selection in the King James Version.
  2. Next, another person will read the same passages in a modern language or amplified version for more clarity such as the New Living Translation (NLT), Message Bible (MSG), New English Translation (NET), Amplified Bible (AMP), etc. We recommend using the YouVersion Bible app.


  1. One person will begin retelling the scripture passage in their own words (a new person to start each week is great!) Then…
  2. As a group, work together to fill in gaps and build the story. This will help us internalize and own it. Be sure everyone participates.


Together, share around the group how the topic and scripture setting applies to your life personally. Here are some thoughts to consider for discussion… don’t let the discussion stop here, though… what questions can you ask that will help uncover God’s message?

A New Joy – Verses 1-14

  • Jesus had appeared twice to the disciples after his resurrection. Why might the disciples have decided to go fishing at this point in time?
  • What emotions might Peter have been feeling on this fishing trip?
  • Of the disciples present, how many of them were professional fishermen?
  • Were they successful in this fishing trip?
  • Was there anything wrong with them being out fishing?
  • While they were fishing, they heard a voice call out to them from the shore. Why didn’t they recognize the voice as Jesus?
  • Would it have been normal for a stranger to tell them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat with a promise of finding fish? What might the disciples have thought about these instructions?
  • What happened when they obeyed?
  • Why did this miracle cause John to recognize Jesus?
  • When Peter heard it was the Lord, what did he do? What emotion was he feeling now?
  • How far did Peter have to swim to get to Jesus? How long might it have taken?
  • While they were all returning to shore, what had Jesus prepared for them? What lesson could Jesus have been communicating to them with this provision?
  • Why did Jesus let the disciples fish all night unsuccessfully before intervening? In what ways does God also do this with us?
  • What might Jesus’ whole purpose have been in performing this miracle of fish?
  • Describe how this part of the story would have restored Peter’s joy.
  • In what ways has God stepped in to restore joy in your failure?
  • How does relying on Jesus help us overcome personal failure?

A New Hope – Verses 15-17

  • After breakfast Jesus and Peter went for a walk to talk. How many times did Jesus ask him if he loved Him? Why do you think he asked this many times? (hint: how many times did Peter deny Jesus?)
  • The first question Jesus asked, “Do you love me more than these other men do?” Why would Jesus ask him to compare himself to the others?
    • Did Peter compare himself in his answer?
  • When we have hurt someone, how does it feel to look them in the face?
    • How does it feel to answer about our commitment to them?
    • How important is it for us to do both of these things, and why?
  • Could Peter truly understand the depth of Jesus’ forgiveness without understanding the depth of his own sin?

The Truth will set you free, but it will hurt first. Until we face the truth about ourselves, we can never be free. ~ Pastor Jay Jones

  • Each time Jesus asked the question, he told Peter to care for his flock.
    • What does this tell us about the priority of order between loving him and serving him?
    • What does this tell us about Jesus’ willingness to use us for His glory?
  • In what ways did the invitation to serve help in restoring Peter’s hope?
  • Has personal failure ever caused you to lose hope of being useful to Jesus? Please share.
  • What did Jesus do to help restore that hope in you?

A New Boldness – Verses 18-22

  • What did Jesus mean with his statement to Peter about being led where he didn’t want to go?
  • What did Jesus mean here when he said, “Follow me”? Follow in what way?
  • We all must die at some time… is it better to die serving God, or playing it safe? Explain.
  • In what way does knowing your success is certain increase your boldness in pursuing it?
  • Why did Peter ask Jesus what John’s fate would be?
  • How would Jesus’ response to Peter have made him feel? What would it cause him to do?
  • In what ways is Jesus’ answer to Peter similar to what he expects of us?
  • What good could come from comparing ourselves to others? What bad?
  • What was the very last instruction Jesus gave to Peter?
  • To a man who had previously failed Jesus three times, what impact would that statement have on Peter?
  • What does this instruction say about Jesus’ confidence in Peter? What does the same instruction say about his confidence in us?

Next Week’s Scriptures

The Crippled Beggar: Jesus speaks to the problem of misguided faith – John 5:1-15