*This week our reflections are on the apostle Peter.*
*Peter’s Call *(John 21:15-19)
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 was asked for the third time, “Simon son of John 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 truth now: when you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you will 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!”
Jesus asked Peter to feed His lambs and His sheep. In John 10, Jesus said He was the Good Shepherd laying down His life for the sheep. Matthew 9 says that Jesus saw people as sheep not having a shepherd. He now speaks directly to Peter and told him what his work was to be: Peter was to shepherd God’s people. That isn’t always in flowery meadows and beside still waters. Sometimes it means grappling with wolves in order to save a lamb. Then Jesus talks about the qualifications needed. “Are you devoted to me?” Peter’s honest reply was that he loved Jesus. The question and answer were repeated. Peter couldn’t climb up to the word used by Jesus, so Jesus came down to Peter’s word. “Do you love me?” Peter didn’t like Jesus coming down to the lower word. The qualification for feeding lambs was love of the Lord, but the bar is set high, the love of absolute devotion. Jesus then described the sort of person Peter had been: he had gone his own way, self-willed, independent, managing his own affairs. Then He told him of the differences there would be. When he was old he wouldn’t be self-centred or self-satisfied. He would need to take up his cross to follow and Jesus implied that he would be true to that principle.
Maybe Peter felt “I shall never be equal to it,” but he would have been reminded the Jesus-Cross has led to a resurrection, and so it would be with Peter.