Summary: Regardless of what season of life we are in, and regardless of our walk of life, we are always called to follow Jesus.
Scripture Reading: John 21:1-11
14 His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs."
16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep."
17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.
The LORD is Merciful
- If we are in Christ, He refuses the punishment we deserve.
We see the Lord's mercy here on Peter. Peter had just denied Jesus three times.
John 18:16-17, 25-27
16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not."
25 Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?" He denied it and said, "I am not!"
26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?"
27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.
Jesus knew who Peter was/would be. We see an emboldened Peter in Acts 2, proclaiming hope through Jesus to thousands. Jesus forgave Peter, and He showed him mercy (three denials, three displays of forgiveness!).
Three roles of a shepherd -- these are slightly nuanced. Some translations render these as the same phrase, but there are different shades of meaning here...
Feed my lambs -- little sheep (arnia) -- care for little ones in faith
Tend [to] my sheep -- Attending to the matters of those who are mature
Feed my sheep -- Also feed those who are mature
The main duty of a pastor is to be conscious of all who come in their seasons and to provide proper spiritual food (i.e. Scripture and its life application) for their respective growth to increased discipleship.
18 "Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish."
19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, "Follow Me."
20 Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"
21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"
22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
23 Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?"
Regardless of what circumstances we undergo in life, the call is to Follow Him. Note Jesus' statement -- 'what is that to you?'...Peter would die one way, and John another. Peter was crucified upside down after watching his beloved wife crucified. John was put through boiling oil, yet he survived, was sent to the prison island Patmos, and likely died of old age. Regardless, Jesus wanted BOTH to follow Him.
Likewise, we are called in whatever season we're in to follow Jesus.
If you're a banker, follow Him.
If you're a construction worker, follow Him.
If you're a programmer, follow Him.
Whatever you do, follow Him.
If you're Caucasian, African American, Indonesian, or whatever ethnicity, follow Him.
Your past may be scarred, but your present and future can be healed. Follow Jesus!
- Life isn't about who has the best hand…
- It's about being obedient to God with the hand we're given.
Remember the Parable of the Talents. Some of us are not as gifted as others in various areas, and the same ones of us may be more gifted in various other areas than others. It is our duty regardless of what we've been given to develop those gifts and bear much fruit with them.