Summary: Jesus’ order to feed begins with yourself. How can you feed if you are not eating yourself.
Your Order to Feed
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Our Scripture this morning comes after the Third appearance of the risen Lord Jesus to the Apostles. After the apostles decided to go fishing and after catching nothing they spotted a man on the shore that instructed then to cast their net on the right side of the ship to find the fish.
Knowing not that this man was infact Jesus until their net was filled with fish to the point where they could not carry but had to drag the net to shore. The apostles then knew there was only one man who could have possibly known exactly where the fish were, and it was Jesus. The apostles and Jesus dined on fish and bread at the shore and our scripture picks up right after the meal.
It is important that before we get into Jesus questioning of Peter that we understand that Jesus had already appeared to the Peter before he appeared to the twelve.
Corinthians I 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Corinthians I 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve
Now Cephas or Peter is the name given by Jesus to Simon son of Jona.
John 1:41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
Note the words, “Thou shalt be called.” They refer to the future. Simon’s name was changed to Cephas. This was a prediction that he would be converted and changed from a self-centered, defensive, overbearing, and carnal man into a strong, solid, immovable and unbreakable rock for God.
Peter had failed the Lord miserably, having denied Him three times. Peter’s miserable failure and denials came in the Lord’s most critical hour—the hour when the Lord needed Peter’s loyalty more than ever.
Because he had failed the Lord so terribly, Peter desperately needed a private interview with the Lord; and because the Lord had appeared to Peter, Peter was a strong witness to the love of God for man. He could readily testify that God loves man so much that He had sent His Son into the world to deliver man from his terrible sin and failure.
He could readily testify that God forgives and saves man and gives him eternal life through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter’s testimony was forceful, for he had personally experienced the forgiveness, the deliverance, the salvation, and the promise of eternal life from the lips of the resurrected Lord Himself.
Since Jesus had met with Peter already, it was important that Peter’s leadership now be reinforced in the presence of all the disciples. They all knew about Peter’s denial. And I could just imagine that there might have been a little decision in the ranks toward Peter.
Jesus had to make sure Peter would never deny Him nor fall back from his mission again. Jesus turns his focus after the breakfast to Peter, calling him by his full name. Simon Peter, Simon Son of Jonas.
Now when you just want someone’s attention, you can just call them by their first name or their nick name. But calling someone by their full name demands attention. In not only demands attention from that person, it demands attention from everyone around.
When I was young and my Mother would say Cedric, it was not a cause for concern. But if she said Cedric Anthony Portis, my radar came on immediately, my brother looked up and tuned in, if I had company over they looked in anticipation of something big is going down.
Jesus, by calling Peter’s full name, got not only Peter’s, but the full attention of all the disciples.
And what was about to be said was of critical importance. Announcing Peter as the son of Jonas was humbling to Peter as a reminder of his humble beginning, coming from a lowly father. More importantly, that all he had become and all he would become was a result of God.