John 21: Carry On the Lord's Work

New Testament: Student Study guide, (2003), 93


As John concluded his Gospel he testified that what he had written was true and indicated that if all that Jesus had done were written “the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). As you read John 21, think about why John chose these stories to conclude his testimony of Jesus Christ.

Understanding the Scriptures

John 21

Shewed (vv. 1, 14)Showed 
Sea of Tiberias (v. 1)Sea of Galilee (see Bible Dictionary, “Tiberias, sea of,” p. 785) 
Have ye any meat? (v. 5)Have you anything to eat? 
Girt (v. 7)Put on 
Naked (v. 7)Wearing only an undergarment 
Two hundred cubits (v. 8)Approximately one hundred yards 
Girdest (v. 18)Dressed 
Tarry (vv. 22–23)Remain 

John 21:18–19—The Lord Prophesies the Manner of Peter’s Death

Jesus Christ invited Peter to follow Him in life (see Matthew 4:18–20). According to tradition, Peter was later crucified upside down in Rome for his unwavering testimony of the Savior.

John 21:20–23—What Happened to John the Beloved?

We know by revelation that John the Beloved asked the Lord if he could remain on earth to bring souls unto Him until the Second Coming (see D&C 7). John was translated so that he could remain on earth to fulfill his desire. You can learn more about the nature of translated beings by reading 3 Nephi 28:7–22.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study John 21.

Activity A iconLet’s Go Fishing

Christ in Galilee

Peter and some of the other Apostles were fishermen by profession. While they fished on the sea of Galilee the resurrected Lord visited them. Compare John 21:3–11 with Luke 5:4–11 and answer the following questions:

  1. 1.

    How much did they catch all night by themselves?

  2. 2.

    How much did they catch when they followed Jesus’ direction?

  3. 3.

    What blessings can come into your life as you do what the Lord asks of you?

  4. 4.

    What do you learn about Peter when he chose to swim to shore?

Activity B iconFrom Fisherman to Shepherd

  1. 1.

    What was Jesus referring to with the word these in John 21:15?

  2. 2.

    Who were the lambs and the sheep Peter was to feed? (see vv. 15–17).

  3. 3.

    Why might Jesus have asked Peter the same question three times? (see Matthew 26:69–75).

  4. 4.

    How well did Peter learn this important lesson from the Savior? (see 1 Peter 5:1–4).

  5. 5.

    Earlier in His ministry the Master taught Peter and the Twelve Apostles about being true shepherds. He said, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep. … I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14–15). Read John 21:18–19 and tell how Peter would follow the example of the True Shepherd. In what ways can you symbolically lay down your life to be a shepherd to the Lord’s lambs and sheep?

Christ and Peter: Feed my sheep