This week in our journey to Pentecost, we are looking at Peter’s encounter with Jesus along the lake. We’ll be looking specifically at John 20: 15-19. Today and tomorrow we’ll look at the world in front of the text, what do these passages mean for us today? We’ll follow the same pattern as the last two days, looking at Jesus’ first two questions today and his final question and command tomorrow:
15 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.” 16 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.” 17 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. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”
I think we can all find ourselves with Peter so often regarding the need for redemption; I think we can each understand the grace that covers our sins. That makes good sense to us and honestly is quite comforting. But remember when we read this passage that Peter is not restored just to feel good about grace, but he is restored to do something for God that only he can do.
You aren’t forgiven today just to feel good about grace. You are forgiven today to be faithful. You are forgiven today for a purpose. Not just for the good feeling of it, but for the good works that come from it.
Today Peter is told to feed the lambs and to tend the sheep. I think both of those commands are important for us to live into our own lives. We need to feed his lambs. That means for us, especially for those of us that are older and have been part of the faith for a longer time, one of our callings is to care for the younger believers.
If you are Christian, who have you mentored? What young person or young Christian have you poured into? Who have you helped shepherd? Who have you paved the way for? Those of us who have been walking for a while; we have a responsibility to care for and teach those who are younger.
Second, we are to tend His sheep. Now, we aren’t all shepherd, we don’t all have that calling, but we are all called to care for His body, the church. You have gifts. You have graces. You have abilities. There are things that you can do to help and benefit the body. While we are not all called to be shepherds, we are all called to a part of His body, the church. Today, how are you using your gifts for the good of His sheep?
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