Daily Lent Devotional #18 (March 26, 2011)

John 21: 15-19

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly 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 truly 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 I tell you the truth, 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!”

After Jesus’ Resurrection, he appeared to his disciples on-and-off over a period of forty days.  It was during these brief moments that he tried to assure them of him being alive and to prepare them to take the Gospel to the whole world.  A key component of this process was to be Simon Peter.

Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus three times prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, after vowing to die to protect Jesus.  Peter’s faith in himself was horribly shaken.  How was he to become the “rock” that the church was to lean on, as Jesus’ had predicted?  In his mind, he had failed in his own walk of faith with Christ.  How could he genuinely lead and encourage others to follow Jesus?

Beyond his own doubts, Peter had difficulty believing that Jesus would take him back.  Yes, he had visited them all twice since the Resurrection; but Peter was so convinced that his time as Lead Apostle had expired that he decided to go back to fishing.  Jesus had already told him that he (and the others) would become “fishers of men”.  Jesus had called Peter out of his past vocation to serve him in the mission of God.  Peter, out of sadness or desperation, went back to the boats.  Jesus then appears, delivers a miraculous catch of fish, and then finds time for this private conversation with Peter.

Jesus asks for three things in this conversation with Peter that relate to our walk with him, as well:

1.)  Love Jesus.  Everything in our relationship with God begins with our love of God.  If this grows cold or detached, we lose power and energy to follow the other commands that follow.  By staying intimately connected to God through prayer, reading the Bible, and other spiritual disciplines; we are empowered to fulfill the other commands of Jesus.

2.)  Love the church.  Jesus tells Peter to take care of, guide, protect, and love the “flock” of God.  As a Pastor, I can relate with the “shepherd” role of a Pastor.  We are called to love our people for who God created them to be, not where they may currently be in their lives.  We are called to look past the problems and defects in the people in church (and they ARE there!), and to move forward in hope that God is still re-creating them…and me.

3.)  Follow Jesus.  Whether our walk with Christ will lead to a cross, like Peter’s eventually did; we are called to obey Jesus claim of Lordship on our lives.  When a Jewish Rabbi would identify a young man that he believed could be a proper apprentice for him, there was a standard way to indicate this.  The Rabbi would intentionally walk up to the young man, look him in the eye, and say these words, “Follow me.”  No long sales pitch.  No pleading or begging.  No clear directions on where the path may end.  The apprentice had a choice to make:  follow the rabbi and learn from him; or be left behind.  We are called to follow Jesus and to trust him, no matter where the road may take us.

Just like Peter, we are loved by Jesus.  He is infinitely patient with all of us.  Like sheep, we make some stupid and self-destructive choices that we need our Shepherd to rescue us from.  He will do that, but it is on us to follow him and trust that he is worthy of our devotion.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

Published in: on March 26, 2011 at 4:35 AM  Leave a Comment  
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