He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt 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.” -John 21:17 NRSV
John tells us that this was the third appearance that Jesus made to the disciples after the resurrection. The Lord meets them on the beach and, over breakfast, questions Peter about whether he really loves him. It was such a difficult, yet important, conversation. Peter needed to be reminded that just days before he denied the Lord three times.
I do not think that Peter left that breakfast the same man. With each humbling question came a command to tend and feed the Lord's flock. It was as if Jesus was telling Peter that he needed more than words. He needed to put his love into action. It is a reminder to all of us, who profess to love the Lord, that divine love demands divine action.
We fall short Lord. Our mouth speaks of our love but our actions contradict our words. Help us to love in word and deed.
... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the Gospel of John.