Tuesday 27 September 2022

John 21:15-25

15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. 18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” 20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” 22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” 24 This disciple is the one who testifies to these events and has recorded them here. And we know that his account of these things is accurate. 25 Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.

I’ve heard many perspectives on this passage before, any you, dear daily digest reader might have too: It’s clear that Jesus asks Peter if he loves him three times to restore the three times that Peter denied him on the day of Jesus’s crucifixion.

But there is so much more going on– While Jesus is being loving in restoring Peter’s relationship with him, he is also being very pointed with Peter when he says “Then feed my Lambs.” I’ll explain my thinking:

Peter has spent three years with Jesus learning how to lead, intercede, pray, cast out demons and pastor people. But what does Jesus find Peter doing at the beginning of this passage? Fishing!

I was speaking to another church leader the other day who shared with me their frustration of how hard it seems to lead people in his church through a process of training for spiritual formation to become fully devoted followers of Christ. He felt that many people in his church seemed happy enough to be part of the church, but if there was anything significant asked of them, they tended to retreat into comfort. I immediately thought of this passage from today’s digest: If Jesus himself had trouble (at least initially) getting his followers to fully understand what was required of them, how much more will we as broken and imperfect church leaders struggle!

So the question I am asking myself today is a tough one- Where am I being called by Christ to “feed his lambs” where I have been too keen to “go back to fishing”.

Lord, help me to cast aside my own fleshly desires for comfort and ineffective use of my time. Show me Lord how I can better feed your lambs by following your call more fully.

Written by Ps Justin Ware

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