15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
In John 21:7, Peters immediate reaction to seeing Jesus (since being crucified) is to run – or in this case, to swim to Him. I love this. I love Peters’ heart for Jesus.
Before this, Peter messed up, he doubted. He was a coward. But he loved Jesus, and more importantly, Jesus still loved him. Peter truly believed in Him.
In this passage, Jesus asked him three times if he really loved him. Peters’ response? “Lord you know everything, you know I love you”. Jesus knew that Peter loved Him and believed in Him, so He told Peter, “Follow me!”.
I don’t think you can intentionally follow someone. It is a decision that is made daily, or in my case, a few times a day! When Jesus said “follow me!” I don’t think it was just a polite request – Jesus is saying this as a commandment. I feel, He is telling us to choose to follow him and to take care of his people (“feed my lambs…”, “Take care of my Sheep…”).
A question that stirs in me is, am I an authentic believer? In seasons of need, through uncertainty, when it’s hard to believe in the promises of the gospel, do I intentionally choose to follow Jesus? I desperately need to look at my life and question, am I Biblically and personally following Jesus? If I love Jesus, prepared to run (‘or jump out of a boat’) to Him wholeheartedly, am I prepared to truly follow him? There is a cost that accompanies stepping out of the casual, comfortable, cultural Christianity, but it’s worth it, Jesus is worth it. I believe there is so much more to following Him than the monotonous spirituality. There is an indescribable joy to be found, deep satisfaction to be felt and an internal purpose to be fulfilled in dying to old selves, taking care of His people, following and living for Him.
Lord God, Thank you for your continual love and grace towards us. Thank you for dying for us and giving us your Holy Spirit. You know everything, you know we love you Jesus, so help us to know what it means to truly follow you, as you commanded Peter and help us to know how to take care of your children. Amen.
Written by Sophie Stewart
The eyewitness accounts of Jesus are very heartening. He was no apparition, He was no conjuring of a single imagination – Jesus was a flesh and blood man that walked the earth.
This screams at us that His life, His extraordinary life is one to follow because He is not a Superhero, the dream of a creative writer even with the amazing events of His life. In our day of Superheros there is a temptation to dismiss Jesus into their genre. But you cannot touch, hear and see Superheros. Jesus, the real flesh and blood Jesus, lived on earth, died on the cross and rose from the grave to live evermore.
So what… this extraordinary man therefore bears following. He bears listening to today. He bears honouring as our Lord and Saviour. This real Jesus, the flesh and blood Jesus did all that is claimed of Him in the Gospels and is all that He claims to be. This should result in joy for us – because to find Jesus is to find life, to follow Jesus is to experience the destiny He has chosen for us.
Father, help me always to honour and obey you in your reality not in my imagining!
What is it that will make my joy complete? Certainly, I know some of the things that make me happy: Things like spending time with my loved ones, sharing stories with mates, playing with my young kids, starting new projects or hobbies, listening to great music or watching a good movie. Then there are the things that are satifying: Seeing a challenging task through to completion, deepening my knowledge and understanding of a topic, writing a song that really expresses something deep, fixing something up that was broken or finally finishing a long-term project.
But finding true joy that is not fleeting and not dependent on continually re-achieving goals or re-experiencing moments- that is something I really need.
This verse makes it clear to me that I can have this true joy simply by sharing my fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and being a witness to the life and divinity of Jesus, who was with God since the beginning of time.
Lord, thank you that your word is plain regarding where I need to go to find true joy. God, help me to not only seek that joy but to hold on to it amidst the business of life, so that it will not be drowned out by all the distractions and temptations that I face day to day.