Expressions of love…

John 21:15-25

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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 again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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 Jonah, 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 all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?” This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true.

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.

 Expressions of love; do you love me, yes I do, feed my sheep, follow me.  Jesus was denied three times.  Three times Peter said he was not a follower of Jesus.  Now three times Jesus asks, not ‘are you my follower?’ but ‘do you love me?’.  Three times Peter affirms his love.  Each time he affirms that Jesus knows this and he acknowledges hurt by the third question.  Three times Jesus gives a responsibility finally stating, ‘follow me.’  It is not enough to acknowledge him, to express a love for him, Jesus requires a responsibility and gives a command; “Follow me.”  We express our love for him; do we also accept the responsibility he gives and do we follow?  Follow  implies we need to know where he leads, what he wants.  When we play ‘Follow the leader’ as children, we mimic the leader.  We go where he or she goes and do exactly as they do.  Follow me indicates we will know Him, mimic Him that is, do as he does, and go where he goes.  Feed my sheep…Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd.  As we follow Him, we do the task of the shepherd, care for the sheep, feed the sheep and lambs.  Take them to pasture, to still waters, give them rest, all  to be found in Christ. Pray for them, feed them from the Word of God, lead them to the Bread of Life.  Share what we receive from the Lord and those He knows will recognize His voice and come.

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