He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15 NABRE
Jesus meets His disciples after His Easter, cooking and sharing a meal with them. Jesus asks Simon Peter, if he loves Jesus, three times, Peter responding positively though distressed at hearing the question for the third time. It is striking that every time Peter responds to the question Jesus directs him to the sheep. Jesus successively says to Peter, feed my lambs, tend my sheep and feed my sheep. Often people appointed by God to lead and govern the people are spoken of as shepherds. Jesus previously spoke of a Good Shepherd, who knows His sheep, declaring Himself the Good Shepherd. Now Jesus gives Peter a unique share in the shepherding of those who will become the flock of Jesus. Jesus isn’t concerned about past mistakes or flaws, He depends on Peter to be a good shepherd, stressing three times His need of Peter to focus everything on the sheep. In biblical language we don’t’ see the words, good, better, best. When this succession is desired the words are repeated, to say holiest we would read holy, holy, holy. This three time emphasis on the care of the sheep indicates to us the sheep are most important to Jesus; followers, future disciples, those who need a shepherd.
Peter is given the most important job He will ever be asked to accept, to shepherd the sheep. Peter must imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd, He will be helped by the Holy Spirit, and Peter will give his life to this mission. Christians are the most important to Christ, we should care for them imitating Christ.
Are you concerned with other Christians? Do you feed the sheep?Peter must imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd, He will be helped by the Holy Spirit, and Peter will give his life to this mission. Christians are the most important to Christ, we should care for them imitating Christ. Click To Tweet
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