15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, 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. Real life has provided me an opportunity to remember how wide the separation between what I believe and what my response to circumstances can be. Today I feel like Peter, sputtering my assurances to justify my lack of strength, peace and joy even at the same time I’m convinced of my own repentance. It’s a mystery isn’t it?
Even a life of faith and absolute commitment has moments when facing your own brokenness is a harsh reality. I’ve read these verses countless times before but today Peter’s attempt to reassure Jesus of his love has become more real because it seems like mine too. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Simon Peter knew the harsh reality of his brokenness. The intensity of his words is almost tangible as he responds to Jesus taking him through that progression of the same question over and over; “do you love me?” Jesus could just as easily have said “I forgive you.” Peter would have expected that forgiveness, and been comforted…but Jesus had something more to give Peter during that early morning confrontation of vows and responses. There was one thing that would ultimately forgive Peter’s lack of strength, comfort his loss of peace and restore his joy too.
Jesus’s gave Peter His trust!
…knowing Peter would complete his vows of love and
“feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep.”