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