‘After they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than the other disciples do?”
Peter answered Him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus asked him again, a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”
Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus told him, “Take care of my sheep.”
Jesus asked him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter felt sad because Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” So Peter said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep.”
Was Peter remembering (was it only a week ago?), sitting at that warming fire outside the place where Jesus was being questioned…beaten…tortured… and his three denials of even knowing Him? Three questions. Three lies. And now, three questions. And three heartfelt true responses. A second chance. . .
Then Jesus described some of Peter’s future, including Peter’s death.
(:19) “ After saying this, Jesus told Peter, ‘Follow me!’”
There was no condemnation of Peter’s failures toward Jesus. Forgiveness was extended, and another chance was being offered. Jesus gave Peter an honest glimpse into the future as a true follower of His. Peter had seen the reality of what it cost Jesus to be fully surrendered to God, and what it would cost him.
The fisherman was going to become a shepherd. A fisherman does not have to give up his life for the fish. He just focuses on catching them. And eating them. And counting them. But a shepherd . . . that’s 24/7 and requires tremendous, thankless dedication, watchfulness, and care. Within that care comes laying down one’s own life.
Jesus had told Peter, “Don’t be afraid. From now on you will catch people instead of fish.”
The fisherman did become a shepherd. His powerful message carried throughout nations then, and continues now. It did cost Peter everything…even death on a cross.
And this “Ewe” is so very grateful.