John 21: 15-19
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.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ 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. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
Reflection by Janet Derby
Though I often wonder when reading bible stories why Peter didn’t get it, I tend to feel badly for him here. I can just imagine him thinking, “how many times do I have to say this?”. Yet, I also find it interesting that Peter repeatedly says, “you know that I love you”. I have read various commentaries about why Jesus asked Peter the same question 3 times, and they all make sense. Some say he was allowing Peter to compensate for having denied him three times. Others say his three statements meant slightly different things. I also wonder if it wasn’t partially that Jesus was telling Peter it isn’t enough to just assume that your love is known to God. We must also express it, both in words and deeds.
Shepherding God, Thank you for your steadfast love and understanding. Help me to care for your flock here on Earth. Amen.