John 21:1-19 (NIV)
The smell of a charcoal fire, hot bread and broiled fish wafts over the shore to the seven disciples who had been fishing all night but had caught nothing. Suddenly, in obedience to a stranger’s command to let their net down on the right-hand side of the boat, their net is full of fish.
“It is the Lord!” Peter jumps into the water and wades to shore.
“Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” Jesus does not need the disciples’ fish, but he lets them contribute to the meal. “Come and have breakfast.” Jesus serves breakfast and afterwards walks along the shore with Peter, the disciple who had thrice, at Jesus’ trial, denied knowing him.
“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Again Jesus lets Peter share in his work, “Feed my lambs.” (Note, Jesus says, ‘my lambs’. He does not give the lambs to Peter, but he allows Peter to share in their care.)
A second time Jesus asks the same question and again Peter replies, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” “Take care of my sheep.”
A third time Jesus asks Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Humbled and hurt, he replies, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Again Jesus invites Peter to share in his work, “Feed my sheep…”
When Peter asks what will happen to another disciple Jesus says, in effect, that is none of your business, you follow me.
Peter is not the one to decide how to care for Christ’s flock, nor does he need to know what others have been tasked to do in the work of the Kingdom, but instead he is to follow Christ and so participate in Christ’s work. We, like Peter, would do well to obey that same directive, if we are to be useful in the spread of the Gospel.
Risen and ascended Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, help us through the power of the Holy Spirit to follow you, and discern how we can participate with you this day in your work. Thank you for the joy of living in and through you. Amen.
Study by Christina Campbell
About the writer:
Christina Campbell attends the Glasgow congregation of Grace Communion International where she is a speaker and Bible Study facilitator.
St Stevens Presbytery
260 Bath Street
Glasgow G2 4JP
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