Jesus said to Peter, “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 21:17
Following the crucifixion and death of Jesus, Peter seemed lost. So much had taken place in the three years since he had met Jesus of Nazareth. When Peter walked with Jesus, he was bold and out spoken. He would gladly jump head first into whatever mission Jesus led him into. More often than not, Peter’s assertions proved to be a hindrance to his maturing in faith. At his lowest point, Peter three times denied even knowing Jesus on the night his Lord was taken into custody and put on trial. Yet, even with the foreknowledge of all this, Jesus chose Peter to be the rock on which the church would be built.
We all have our shortcomings; we all step into a mess once in a while. Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, Christians will charge head first into a ministry opportunity with the boldness of Peter but things just don’t seem to work out. There are also times when we fail to recognize opportunities for ministry; the beggar on the corner, the homeless person on the bench, or the aged one alone in the hallway of the nursing home. When we turn away from the least among us, we again deny knowing our Lord.
Peter wasn’t perfect and neither are we. When challenged to love God with all our heart and love our neighbor as ourselves we often fall short. Still, Jesus chooses to work through us. Our Lord asks but one question; “Do you love me?” The people of God answer, “Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus says to his Church, “Feed my sheep.”
Photo: One Big Mission – St Barnabas Lutheran Church, Charleston, SC