Summary: "If You Love Me, Feed My Sheep"
Test pilots, punching into the atmosphere, climbing to undreamed heights in jet planes and space craft, have a phrase they use to describe their work. Do you know what it is? They call it “punching holes in the sky.” That is what we were meant to do with our lives, to climb beyond humdrum and press on beyond all those things that hold us back. We aim too low and somehow we are satisfied with good enough. When have we set out to punch holes in the sky? When have we aimed for the impossible? God has given us life and all of its adventures, but it is the impossible that stops us. The fear of failure or even the fear of success paralyzes us from the start.
We saw this in Jesus’ disciple Peter. What a great example he was. Peter was a chosen disciple, a man who Jesus loved, as human as we are, often times filled with self doubt, certainly at the end of the life of Jesus. I believe that is why, according to the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus first appeared to the women at His tomb early Easter Sunday morning, He told them to tell His disciples, especially Peter, that He was risen and would see them in Galilee. Jesus knew Peter was hurting, and needed His ministering words. So we read from the Gospel of John when Jesus encountered Peter on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, just north of the great city of Tiberius and south of Peter’s home in Capernaum.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee (Whom, when he first met Jesus said, “What good can possibly come out of Nazareth!), the sons of Zebedee (John and James), and two other disciples were together. "I’m going out to fish," Simon Peter told them, and they said, "We’ll go with you." So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, "Friends, haven’t you any fish?" "No," they answered. He said, "Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some." When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved (John) said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish you have just caught." Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of Jonah, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Again Jesus said, "Simon son of Jonah, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of Jonah, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.
I find this account very interesting. First, if you stand on the shore of the Sea of Galilee at nighttime, you can watch fish literally jump out of the water. For experienced fishermen, it would be impossible for them not to catch any fish, In the daytime the fish swim to the bottom depths and do not come up to the surface to find food. So the disciples couldn’t catch one single fish all night long, yet in the morning, after the Word was given to them by Jesus, their net was beyond full! Jesus, an experienced carpenter, teaching the experienced fishermen how to catch fish!