4/4/16 If You Love Me, Love Them

When they have finished their breakfast, Jesus asks Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than your brothers do?”  Peter, thinking this is an odd question, replies, “Yes, Rabbi, You know that I love You.”  “If you love Me, then feed My lambs,” He tells him.  Feed His lambs?  What does that mean?  But Peter doesn’t have time to ponder this question, because Jesus asks him again, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”  Frowning, Peter says, “Yes, Rabbi, You know that I love You.”  “If you love Me, then take care of My sheep,” Jesus tells him.  Ok, lambs, sheep, there’s a pattern here.  But what does it mean?  Again, Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”  Now Peter is feeling a little let down.  How can Jesus not know the answer to this question?  He says, “Rabbi, You have no need to ask me, because You know better than I do myself!  You know that I love You.”  “If you love Me, then feed My sheep,” Jesus tells him.  Suddenly, Peter realizes what Jesus has just done.  He remembers what Jesus told him that night at supper, that he would run away and tell people three times that he did not know Jesus.  In his heart, Peter knows that Jesus has just restored their relationship and forgiven him for turning away from Him.  But the sheep and lambs thing…still not sure.  “I AM the Good Shepherd.  I have told you this before.  But now I will soon be going back to Heaven to live with My Father, so I AM entrusting My people into your care.  You are to take care of them lovingly, like a good shepherd takes care of his sheep,” Jesus says, seeing the confusion in Peter’s eyes.  “Peter, I must tell you a hard truth.  When you were a young man, you did whatever your heart desired.  You chose your own clothes and your own activities.  But when you begin to grow old, you will no longer be allowed to decide these things for yourself.  Other people will take charge over you, dress you, take your hands, and lead you to a place where you have no desire to go.  When this happens, remember My words to you, and follow Me.”  Peter has the chilling feeling that Jesus has just told him how he is going to die, but instead of scaring him, this information seems to be strengthening his heart.  Jesus is confident that Peter’s faith will stay strong and he won’t abandon his Messiah again.  Peter turns and sees John watching the exchange.  He says, “What about John, Rabbi?”  Jesus gives him a reproving look and says, “Each person has his own journey to take.  Each is his own, and nobody else’s business.  Even if I decide I want John to stay alive until I return, that is between John and Me.  Just concentrate on following Me, and leave the rest to Me.”  After the men return home, they tell their friends and families about the morning’s conversations, and rumors begin to spread that Jesus is going to keep John alive forever.  But Jesus never said that, only, “Even if I decide I want John to stay alive until I return, that is between John and Me.”  Many years later, John will record all of this in a book.  He will have to choose carefully which of Jesus’ many miracles to include, because while his book will be very accurate in its details, there just wouldn’t be enough book to write everything.  He will write about the most important, at least in his eyes, so that people will believe that Jesus truly is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing in Him will bring people everlasting life through the power of His Name.  As John himself says to his friends while considering what to write, “If I write everything down, I don’t think the whole world could hold all the books that would be written.”

 

John 20:30-31, 21:15-25

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