“After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”
Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?”
Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” That is how the rumor got out among the brothers that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that is not what Jesus said. He simply said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you?”John 21: 15 – 22
Jesus asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” to which Peter answered in the affirmative each time. For every, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you”, Jesus offered to Peter a command, “Feed my lambs. Take care of my sheep. Follow me”. Interestingly, instead of Peter confirming his allegiance to following Christ, he shifted his attention to the affairs of another and asked, “Lord what about him?” Jesus gently rebuked him saying, “Maybe I want him to live until I come. That should not be important to you. You follow me.” In other words, “Peter, what should be most important to you is that YOU follow me.”
That was Peter, but what about us? Christ says, “If you love me, follow me in your relationships” but we eagerly quip, “Lord, what about Jack and Jane’s relationship?” Jesus says, “If you love me, follow me in your health habits” but we reply, “Lord, what about Max, he has diabetes?” Jesus says, “If you love me, follow me, with your finances” to which we reply, “Lord my money is not half as large as Maxine’s.” Jesus says, “If you love me, follow me, with your time”, we say, “Lord, I am too busy with telling others of your goodness, too caught up in philanthropic work and making a difference in my community, surely you understand.”
Have you ever found yourself focused on the affairs and fate of others, that you forgot your own? Have you ever succumbed to the temptation of becoming so consumed by earthly good that you distanced yourself from the heart of God?
I have; and the truth is, when we focus too heavily on the affairs of others and serving them, we can become pulled away from Christ, the one who strengthens us to serve others.
Maybe you are trapped in the emotional trapping of comparison or being led away from Christ because of your good intentions. Take heart, Christ is gently asking you to do what Stephen Covey advises, “to keep the main thing the main thing.” And the main thing is following Him – Jesus wholeheartedly. The good news is that by making Christ the main thing we will be better positioned to better serve others.
Peace, love, blessings,
Scripture of the Week
Matthew 22: 37 – 38, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”
(c) 2015, Dentrecia Blanchette