Living With John 20:15-19

I try to live with a text for several days (and not the text I will be preaching on Sunday).  By living with the text I am able to reflect upon the words rather than just rushing through the reading.  As I have lived with John 20:15-19 for this week three thoughts come to mind.  Before I share my thoughts, read John 20:15-19.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”  He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 

A second time he said to him,
“Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 

He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter felt hurt because he said to him the 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.  Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished.  But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 

(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.)  After this he said to him, “Follow me. 

As I live with John 20:15-19 here are some thoughts:

Thought #1
Jesus never asks Peter if he likes sheep.  If Peter is going to feed the lambs, tend and feed the sheep, do we not think it would be wise if Peter likes sheep?  If ministers, elders, deacons, church leaders are feeding and tending sheep (people), do we not think they should enjoy people.  But to be honest, sometimes I really don’t enjoy people because people don’t get the big picture.  We get caught up in the small ideas and therefore develop a small mindset.  With this it seems that people easily loose track of the path to be walking down.  Yes, frustrations come, and yes sleepless nights, heartache, headaches, bewilderment, betrayal, and a host of other feelings are a part of leading God’s people.  But called we are to lead God’s people and so we will continue to feed and tend the lambs and sheep because this is what we are called to do.

Thought #2
Jesus indicates the kind of death Peter is going to face and at the end of his words he says, “Follow me.”  Could this be a moment of hesitation on Peter’s part?  Follow me even though death awaits!  Follow me and as you follow me you will take care of my sheep and because of your service and your work you will die a cruel death!  I can’t help but think that there probably was a moment of hesitation on Peter’s part. 

Thought #3
Jesus says, “If you love me . . . .”  It seems that if we love Jesus we will not be self-centered individualistic people, but rather will look towards helping others.  If Christianity is reduced to self help, self motivation, and self satisfying faith, then we are missing a major portion of the Christian life.  Christianity will always drive us to interact and live with our neighbor.  Christianity has always and will always call us to serve people.

Published in: on March 16, 2007 at 12:28 am  Leave a Comment  

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