John 21, 15-17
Something to read
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.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.' A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He said to him, 'Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Tend my sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter felt hurt because he said to him the 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'.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
What are you asking Lord?
I'm sure Peter must have felt under a bit of pressure at that moment… Why was no-one else being asked the question; 'Do you love me?' Why wasn't anyone else being told 'Feed my sheep'?
Peter may well have felt hurt because he thinks Jesus doesn't know he loves Him - but maybe Peter doesn't understand the type of question Jesus asks him; that's why Jesus repeats it three times.
Maybe Jesus is asking or even instructing Peter to care for His people with as much love as he has for Jesus? That his actions should mirror his love for Jesus and that, through loving Jesus, he has a responsibility to love and care for all Jesus' sheep.
Although Peter feels hurt, there is, however, good news here, friends. That is: Jesus does know Peter loves Him because He still commissions Peter to feed his sheep. If Jesus thought Peter couldn't do it, He would not have commissioned him to do so.
The good news is that even though we sometimes don't understand what God is asking, or we sometimes get it a bit wrong, Jesus can, will and does still use us to do His work.
Jesus doesn't ask Peter or us, 'Will you feed my sheep?' No, rather He instructs us to do so and this tells me that we are all commissioned, no matter where we are in life's walk. And this is good, good news because Jesus loves us enough to want to use us.
True love for Jesus does involve responsibility, and that is to see things through the eyes of Jesus and to respond with the heart of Jesus.
Something to do
Who is in need of something that you know of? It could be someone close to home or someone you have never met. Would Jesus' words then, be relevant to you now?
'Tend my sheep…' I think they would be.
Something to pray
Lord Jesus, your command to Peter to tend and feed your sheep is just as relevant to us now. We pray that you would move us to action and not just pray for your people, but to show our love for you through action for others. Help us to remember that we are your hands and feet here on Earth. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
Today's contributor is Richard Stein, minister of Bexhill United Reformed Church.