Feed My Sheep

By: Dennis Bates

Poor Peter.

Sometimes he was just so much like the rest of us. Clueless. There he was in day to day contact with the Son of God incarnate and he still didn’t get it. That must have frustrated Jesus so much and made him wonder. If somebody like Peter didn’t get what He came for, how were other people going to ever understand?

Near the end of the book of John, after His death and resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples and ate breakfast with them after they had been fishing all night. He asked Peter a series of questions that all sound alike but are all answered differently in a way.

“Simon (Peter) son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

Jesus pointed at the nets full of fish when he asked that. What Jesus appeared to be asking was whether Peter loved Jesus more than the nets full of fish. Peter fished for a living; the nets full of fish had to excite him, and Jesus knew that. So, when Jesus asked do you love me more than these nets full of fish, He was really asking Peter where his priorities were. The question could just as easily been, “Am I the most important thing in your life?”

Peter answered quickly, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

“Feed my lambs,” Jesus said.

Peter didn’t move, so Jesus asked him twice more “…do you truly love me?” Twice more Peter responded affirmatively that he loved Jesus, and twice more Jesus asked Peter to take care of and feed His sheep. And still Peter sat there.

Before His death and resurrection, Jesus told Peter and the other disciples that His new command was for them to love one another. He told them that others would see that love and know that they were His disciples. Simply love one another, no more, no less. Or, as He told Peter, “feed my sheep….” Take care of them. As Staci has said, love them as a verb.

Peter got frustrated when Jesus kept asking him if he loved Him, but think how frustrated Jesus must have been with Peter. Jesus could have screamed, “Are you listening at all, Peter? If you love me, get up and do something about it. Love those whom I love, starting right here in your midst.” But Jesus didn’t scream; He showed Peter what he needed to do by patiently loving him even though Peter didn’t seem to get it.

In addition, He built His church on Peter, that somebody who didn’t get it. Matthew 16:18. Talk about the power of the Holy Spirit! Peter failed Jesus as many times as he pleased Him in the Biblical accounts, but when it was all said and done, Jesus chose him to take care of the flock and to be the cornerstone of the church.

Shouldn’t that give us all hope? Like Peter, so many times we fail, so many times we just don’t seem to get it and so many times we don’t show the love for His sheep. Let alone take care of them or feed them. And yet, He chose us. Now, like Peter, we need to get up and do something about it.

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