John 21:1-25 The water gently washed over the heart-shaped rocks that were formerly pillars to an ancient temple. We looked in the distance across the Sea of Galilee and relived the story written in John 21. We were standing in one of my favorite spots on the shore of the Galilee. The place is called Peter’s Primacy, and it is the place where Jesus cooked a meal for His disciples after He was resurrected. It was at this place that Peter had the opportunity to confirm his love to the Master three times after denying Him three times. This was Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before He ascended, and something essential for their future happened here during their dinner conversation. Jesus told them of their future occupation in the kingdom.
The disciples had gone fishing and had caught nothing. They heard a voice on shore calling, “Children, have you any meat?” Still not recognizing Jesus, they responded, “No.” Then Jesus instructed, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find.” Peter then realized it was the Lord, and he girded himself and swam to shore to meet Jesus. The other disciples did as Jesus told them, and they followed Peter to shore, dragging a great catch with them. When they arrived, Jesus already had bread waiting and a fire going to cook the fish. Then Jesus asked Peter a very important question. “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me more than these?” Peter responded, “Yes, Lord; You know I do.” Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” Then Jesus asked him again, Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?” Peter responded, “Yes, Lord, You know I love You.” Jesus instructed, “Feed My sheep.” Then Jesus asked the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?” Peter responded, “Lord, You know all things. You know I love you.” Jesus again instructed, “Feed My sheep.”
When Jesus first asked Peter if he loved Him more than these, I believe Jesus was not pointing at the disciples; instead, He was pointing to the great catch of fish they had just brought to shore. Peter’s livelihood was fishing, and it was something he loved to do. Every day his goal as a fisherman was to have a great catch. What Jesus was asking Peter was, “Do you love Me more than what you love to do the most?” What Peter loved the most was fishing. What do you love the most? It may be your job, your family or even yourself. It is easy for us to say “I love you” to Jesus and to others, but love demands action. Jesus knew Peter loved Him, but He gave Peter a specific way he could demonstrate his love to Jesus. Jesus told him first to feed His lambs (the little children). Then Jesus told him twice to feed His sheep. Children are so important to Jesus. Remember Jesus called the disciples “children.” He sees us as children and He loves us, but He also sees us as those who can feed His Word to those both younger and older than us in the spirit and most of all to the unbeliever. Do you love Jesus? Feed His lambs then.
READ: 2 Samuel 19:11-20:13; John 21:1-25; Psalm 120:1-7; Proverbs 16:16-17