“When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these? ” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Feed My lambs,” He told him. A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me? ” “Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.” “Shepherd My sheep,” He told him. He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me? ” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me? ” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.” “Feed My sheep,” Jesus said. “I assure you: When you were young, you would tie your belt and walk wherever you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will tie you and carry you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to signify by what kind of death he would glorify God. After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord — what about him? ” “If I want him to remain until I come,” Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”
John 21:15-19, 21-22
Peter was broken. Peter was broken in a way that only Jesus could mend. Peter, who had confidently told Jesus that he would follow Him to death, even if the other disciples failed Him, had himself failed and failed miserably! So now Jesus had been crucified, had risen and appeared to the disciples multiple times, but this time was different. Peter had spotted Jesus on the shore while he and other disciples were fishing, had, in excitment, dove overboard, swam to Jesus, had breakfast with him and the others afterwhich Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John. do you love Me more than these?” The question among Bible scholars a has always been, “who or what are these?” Some believe that “those” refered to the fishing boat, which had been Peters source of income all his life. So, Jesus may have asked, “Do you live me more than fishing” or “more than your own life?”
That we be a valid question-sometimes our love for our own professions can loom over our love for Jesus.
Other contend that Jesus was asking Peter if he.loved Him more that these, meaning “these other disciples”. In other words, “do you love Me more that you love these guys?” Again this interpretation would be valid as its often our love of eartly relationships that distract us from our love for God. I believe, in context with the text and in response to Peter’s brokeness, Jesus was asking, “Peter, do you love me more than these guys love Me”? Remember, Peter boasted that he would stand with Jesus, even die with Jesus if necessary. In essance he was presumming to claim to have more loyalty to Jesus than they did. Now that Peter had fallen, Jesus is, while restoring Peter, asking him to rethink his statement. ”
Jesus asks Peter this 3 times, the same amount of times that Peter had denied Him. Jesus makes it clear that He loved Peter and that He still had a great plan for his life.
Peter, the brawny, cocky, yet now broken and ashamed disciple, was given the job of “feeding My (Jesus’) lambs and sheep”! (Vss 15-17) Peter, true to character sees John nearby and asks, “what about Him?” Jesus replies in effect, “what’s it to you what I do with him? YOU FOLLOW ME!”
The 3 things we can understand from this passage are these: 1. We should love Jesus above all, not just the ideal of loving Jesus! Its a dangerous thing to compare our love for Him with what we precieve to be other’s to love Him. 2. Above all, Jesus calls us to follow Him 3. No matter how bad we blow it, Jesus always has a plan for our lives.
Broken, timid, fearful Peter, now full of the Holy Spirit, only a few weeks later preached boldly on the Day of Penticost and 3000 were saved! If God can use Peter, He can use us as well. Its not too late!
Think about it!
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