Summary: A devotional for young believers
“JESUS CAME AND TOOK THE BREAD, AND GAVE THEM, AND THE FISH LIKEWISE. 14 THIS IS NOW THE THIRD TIME THAT JESUS WAS MANIFESTED TO THE DISCIPLES, AFTER HE WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD. 15 SO 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.’ HE SAID TO HIM, ‘TEND MY LAMBS.’ 16 HE SAID TO HIM AGAIN A SECOND TIME, ‘SIMON, SON OF JOHN, DO YOU LOVE ME?’ HE SAID TO HIM, ‘YES, LORD; YOU KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU.’ HE SAID TO HIM, ‘SHEPHERD MY SHEEP.’ 17 HE SAID TO HIM THE THIRD TIME, ‘SIMON, SON OF JOHN, 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, ‘TEND MY SHEEP’.”
After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared on a number of occasions to His followers. We are told that on one occasion He appeared to over 500 people at one time.
Nevertheless, some of them had gone back to fishing, thinking their hopes had been dashed and their Messiah killed.
It is interesting that the risen, glorified Christ cares enough to not only appear to them during this time of doubt, but takes an interest in their physical needs and feeds them.
But He goes so much further. Here is brave, impetuous Peter, who had bragged that he would never forsake his Lord, and yet, at the arrest and trials of Jesus Peter had proven afraid and weak, just like the rest of them; just like us.
He had run into the woods to hide. He had followed at a distance. He had denied even knowing Jesus.
But see the grace of our Lord. He feeds Peter after a long night of fruitless fishing, then He turns to him and asks, “Simon...do you love me more than these?” These what? Maybe, the fish? Do you love me more than spending your days catching fish? Didn’t I tell you when I first came to you that I would teach you to catch men? Do you love me more?
Or maybe He meant, “Do you love me more than these others standing here?”
Peter’s answer, regardless, was “Yes”.
Three times Jesus puts this painful question to a man who probably considered himself the worst traitor in history, but three times he has to answer truthfully; even after admitting that Jesus knows all things and that nothing is hidden from Him. “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He may have failed miserably, but the love was still there.
And Jesus knew it was. So He gives him the greatest commission of all. “Feed my sheep”. Go to the ones who believe in Me and feed them spiritually. Teach them. Lead them. Be now, in My strength, what you wanted to be in your own strength but failed. You will not fail now; My Holy Spirit will be in you and work through you.
Jesus doesn’t give up on us. He waits for us to give up on us; and put our hope in Him; put our faith in Him, not in ourselves. (Remember Gideon in the book of Judges?)
Then, He uses us for the glory of the Kingdom of God. Give up on yourself, and He will use you too. The potter, using the clay pot. It’s only right.