Do you love me more than these?

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

My inclination is to give Peter a break here. Yes I know that he denied the Lord three times.
I also know the shame that he felt because of those denials. Jesus saw through that shame and forced Peter to deal with the shame. He saw past those denials and he knew how much Peter loved him. Peter so needed the Lord to drag him out of his shame and challenge him to greater things. And the Lord was up to the task because he saw great things in his friend.

I love that Jesus saw in Peter a heart filled with care. Peter was a fisherman, not shepherd, by trade. Yet the Lord saw a heart filled with love, care and compassion for lost sheep. In speaking these difficult words to Peter the Lord was affirming and proclaiming his desires and plans for him. He is also speaking to us. He tells us that if we love Him we will care for his sheep. The two go hand in hand - if we love Jesus we will also love those that are his.

I love you Lord. Please, I beg you, open my eyes to your hungry lambs.

Come and have breakfast.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

I so love this story. Once again the disciples find themselves in a familiar place. For the past three years they have eaten many meals with the Lord. John tells us that this is the third time that they have see the risen Christ and this time he comes specifically share a meal with them. It is interesting how they recognized Jesus when he told them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. Seeing the many fish they must have flashed back to that day when Jesus did the exact same thing and they had the same results.

Peter must have remembered that day in a boat like that when he confessed himself to be a sinner and Jesus told him that he would soon be fishing for men. I so love Peter's reaction! Overwhelmed at the thought of talking with the Lord, Peter throws himself into the water - he wanted to be the first to see the Lord up close. Interesting also how these disciples knew it was the Lord even though Jesus did not say who he was. I can picture myself there and feel my heart filled with awe, excitement and love for the Lord.

Help me Lord to see you in the ordinary events of my life and in the faces of your followers.