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. [John 21:15-17 ESV]
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 it.
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.
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 compassion and care.
His challenge to care for hurting souls reflected what he saw in Peter.
The disciple was a fisherman, not shepherd, by trade.
Yet the Lord saw a heart filled with love, care and compassion for lost sheep.
As he spoke he affirmed and proclaimed his desires and plans for him.
I think that the Lord is also speaking to us who feel shame.
He tells us that when we love we are able to transcend our shame.
When we love our focus is directed away from ourselves.
When we care for people who are hurting we become the hands of God.
In reality, 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 who he loves.
I love you Lord. Please, I beg you, open my eyes to your hurting lambs.
... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.