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.”
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.”
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.
Jesus had just finished the Last Supper with His disciples and He had probably a busy week with the Resurrection. Yet he turned to Peter asking whom did he love to bring him back into the fold. Some would ask “why” looking at Peter’s history being a little shaky when it comes to holding up under pressure.
Lets’ look at Peter and the history of his relationship with Jesus. Peter was known as a leader of the disciples, yet he was at times stubborn, willful, and imperfect; “strong-willed child” comes to mind when looking at this attitude. His character at times was angry and fearful yet wise and dedicated. When he did see what he did wrong – he was willing to ask forgiveness and try again.
Peter was challenged. Peter most of the time failed.
Jesus asked him to walk on water. (Matt 14:29) Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and sank.
Jesus asked Peter to wash His feet. (John 13:12) Peter did not understand the bigger meaning.
Jesus told Peter before he would deny him.
Peter did not listen. (John 18)
Now in John 21:15:
Jesus asks again Peter “Do you love me?” —repeating this message. The same number of times Peter denied Jesus in John 18:27. As a confession of love or reminder to Peter of the love more than the sin he was leaving behind? John does this for both reasons.
Jesus uses “Agape” love when he asks. It is one of the 4 types of love. It is the highest form of love which comes from God and from the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ love qualifies us this way to “feed the lost” through Peter.
Peter is a perfect example of imperfect love and willfulness. His failures make a point to help us understand how much God can use our pain and failures to help others if we allow Jesus to be our qualification. What do I mean by qualified?
- Serving, Saving, helping, “seeing other’s pain”
- comes from us being served,
- being saved,
- being helped,
- and being seen when we are at our lowest and still loved.
In this passage of John 21, we see Jesus ask with Agape love but Peter responds with Philos love. Agape is the highest form of love given by the Holy Spirit and Peter had not yet received the Holy Spirit. He could only respond through a friendship love; or Philos love. It is important to remember that we must use the power that Jesus has given us to help others.
Jesus compels us to “feed My sheep” therefore:
- To love others.
- To guard and protect each other and those who are young or not as strong in their faith.
So ask yourself daily
- Are you encouraging and uplifting?
- Are you shepherding the lost and those who need you to be the love of Jesus to them?
Lastly, Jesus wants us to move on from our past failures.
Forgiving not only others but ourselves.
So move on—Redefine ourselves by Jesus’ LOVE and not by our own expectations – but BY THE call and the great command and commission- to go INTO THE world that needs us. (Mark 16:15-16)
MOVE! Get over what you need to get over and use it and see how it not only changes you but others for HIM!
Peter was not perfect but he allowed himself to be served and to serve the one true God and Savior— our Lord Jesus Christ. He picked himself up and started over and over again because God saw what he could be; not what Peter gave up on being.
In John 21:17 Christ asked Peter to confess his love or to possibly show his love to others for Jesus. Redefining Love that can overcome the worst of us to bring out the best in us. “Feed my Sheep”
It was an affirmation and reconfirmation of forgiveness and love and acceptance. Move on because Jesus has allowed the worst of us to be used for Love.
Be redefined by Jesus’ Love
- everyday by the Love that will never stop sacrificing for you and those who believe in Him
- redefining our worth in Jesus’ name.
Sometimes we are the sheep and need the Shepherd.
Sometimes we are the shepherd that Jesus asks us to be and Love the sheep because He has done that for us.