Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Filled to Feed

Reading: John 21: 15-19

Verse 16: “Simon son of John, do you love me”?

In our passage today, it focuses right in on the relationship between Jesus and Simon Peter. There is a parallel to Peter’s denial of Christ in the courtyard of the high priest. Jesus asks Peter three times, “Simon son of John, do you love me”? Each time that Peter responds with a “yes” he is addressing a specific denial. Jesus’ response varies each time. His first response is “feed my lambs”. His second response is “take care of my sheep”. His third response is “feed my sheep”. Each of these responses focuses on a different aspect of ministry. Peter is called to teach the children and new believers, to lead the church, and to teach the mature believers. In these verses we see Peter restored and established as the one who will guide the early church forward.

Like Peter, on our walks of faith we too will stumble and fall into sin. We too will have times when we deny Christ. Each time we deny a nudge or whisper of the Holy Spirit, we are denying Christ. In reality, we are often like Peter. Yet Christ remains. He may asks us, “Do you love me?”, but it is for our own benefit, not His. We each need to wrestle with this question over and over to remind ourselves that we do love Jesus as a means to better live out our faith in the world. In order to do this and to do it well, we must keep our connection strong. This is what happened in verses 1-14. Jesus appeared and worked in the disciples’ lives, feeding them. It is important to note that before Jesus sent Peter out to feed and care for the church, Jesus took the time to feed and care for Peter. Jesus filled him up before sending him out to feed others.

Here too we must be like Peter. We must allow Jesus to fill us, to care for us, to feed us before we can go out and do likewise. Through prayer, reading, study, worship… we are filled by Jesus so that we can go out into the world to share the good news. In our personal time and in our corporate time may we be filled today, overflowing with the love of God in Christ Jesus, ready to share His love with the world. May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, thank you for this time this morning, filling me with Jesus. May our worship today also fill me up and may you use me to fill others up. In His name I pray. Amen.

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Peter’s Response

Reading: John 21: 15-19

We don’t do awkward well. Yet from time to time it certainly finds us. Sometimes it is something we blindly and innocently stumble into. We can look back later and have a good laugh. But sometimes it is of our own doing, often tied to a misstep or poorly chosen words, and our awkward moment is not so fun.

Peter has the second kind of awkward moment. Jesus forces him to relive the night that Peter denied Christ three times. I imagine Peter was nervously waiting for this conversation. We’ve all been there – said or done something that we know we will have to face again at some point. Peter knew Jesus well. He knew Jesus to be a person who said what needed said.

So finally the eggshells are broken and Jesus asks the question: “Simon son of John do you love me?” Jesus chooses to use his old name instead if Peter. When Jesus renamed Peter it was because Peter meant ‘rock’ and Jesus said He would build His church upon that rock. But now, Peter is still Simon the denier. Can’t you see the relief on Peter’s face as he can finally tell Jesus that he lives Him again? Peter can finally begin to put the guilt and shame of that night behind him.

Then Jesus asks the same question again. Same response from Peter and instructions from Jesus. But Peter probably feels a little more awkward, a little more reminiscent of when he denied Jesus. Then Jesus asks him a third time. Did Peter hear the rooster crowing in his mind? Peter is obviously hurt. But Peter is steadfast – yes Jesus I love you. And again the same response from Jesus: feed my sheep, care for my lambs. Build my kingdom.

We too hear this call each time God places another before us: feed my sheep. We feel it each time the Spirit nudges us to engage one in need: care for my lambs. May we too have Peter’s response: yes Jesus I love you.