29.3 John – I am Peter

In these last chapters of John, over and over again I have found myself identifying with Peter. Sometimes I slow and other people race ahead of me. Sometimes, when I start on a path, I have a hard time stopping and rush into places that other people pause to investigate first. Sometimes I jump right into a new direction leaving others to finish the work at hand. Sometimes I have to be told something three times to get. Sometimes when I warned about something by those who love me the most I argue with them instead of listening. Sometimes I have doubts and feel like I’m starting to sink.

But, also, like Peter, I have seen our Lord reach out a hand and save me over and over again in these circumstances.

So, for all the other Peters out there, I think it is particularly important to pay attention to these directions from Jesus to Peter. Feed my little lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep. I don’t know if any of you have raised livestock, but, if you haven’t… they eat every day! That may not seem like a revelation to you, but, is it how we exercise this instruction? For most of us we look at shepherding others as a sometimes thing, not a daily thing. We go on a missions trip. We serve in VBS or Sunday School. We donate to good causes. There is nothing wrong with those things, but, if that is our definition of feeding the sheep, it is like dumping a truck load of feed and leaving the sheep untended for a couple of weeks.

That isn’t the example that Jesus set for us. Give us this day our monthly bread is not how the prayer goes.

But doing daily life with sheep is messy. Other people have just as many problems as we do and, well, sometimes they are stinky, too. But it is being there for others even during the messy times that really demonstrates the love of Christ to them.

Having said all of this, it is also important to note that Jesus did not give the sheep to Peter, he only gave him one single job to do, feed them. He didn’t say, “feed your sheep”. Peter is not the master of the sheep, Jesus is. Peter is not the Shepherd of the sheep, He is a helpful neighbor and friend to the Shepherd. Peter is not in charge of all of the other things that go along with selecting the sheep, raising the sheep, providing pastures, providing shelter, providing safety, shearing, etc, etc, etc. He just needs to keep an eye on them and fill the feed trough with the food that the master provides.

Sometimes we hesitate to take on a job of helping others because we don’t want to be “in charge” of them. Jesus makes this clear to Peter: do your job, I’m still in charge, they are my sheep.

My Answers:

In these last chapters of John, over and over again I have found myself identifying with Peter. Sometimes I slow and other people race ahead of me. Sometimes, when I start on a path, I have a hard time stopping and rush into places that other people pause to investigate first. Sometimes I jump right into a new direction leaving others to finish the work at hand. Sometimes I have to be told something three times to get. Sometimes when I warned about something by those who love me the most I argue with them instead of listening. Sometimes I have doubts and feel like I’m starting to sink.

But, also, like Peter, I have seen our Lord reach out a hand and save me over and over again in these circumstances.

So, for all the other Peters out there, I think it is particularly important to pay attention to these directions from Jesus to Peter. Feed my little lambs, shepherd my sheep, feed my sheep. I don’t know if any of you have raised livestock, but, if you haven’t… they eat every day! That may not seem like a revelation to you, but, is it how we exercise this instruction? For most of us we look at shepherding others as a sometimes thing, not a daily thing. We go on a missions trip. We serve in VBS or Sunday School. We donate to good causes. There is nothing wrong with those things, but, if that is our definition of feeding the sheep, it is like dumping a truck load of feed and leaving the sheep untended for a couple of weeks.

That isn’t the example that Jesus set for us. Give us this day our monthly bread is not how the prayer goes.

But doing daily life with sheep is messy. Other people have just as many problems as we do and, well, sometimes they are stinky, too. But it is being there for others even during the messy times that really demonstrates the love of Christ to them.

Having said all of this, it is also important to note that Jesus did not give the sheep to Peter, he only gave him one single job to do, feed them. He didn’t say, “feed your sheep”. Peter is not the master of the sheep, Jesus is. Peter is not the Shepherd of the sheep, He is a helpful neighbor and friend to the Shepherd. Peter is not in charge of all of the other things that go along with selecting the sheep, raising the sheep, providing pastures, providing shelter, providing safety, shearing, etc, etc, etc. He just needs to keep an eye on them and fill the feed trough with the food that the master provides.

Sometimes we hesitate to take on a job of helping others because we don’t want to be “in charge” of them. Jesus makes this clear to Peter: do your job, I’m still in charge, they are my sheep.

My Answers:

6.

Redemption for Peter’s denial. Peter was a man of action, do you love me more than all this doing?

 

7.

He knows me as only an intimate Lord would and could. He provides and guides. He gives me meaningful work. He tests me but redeems me.

 

8.

All believers have failed. We all have someone we can care for, nourish, provide for. Life is too important to do it alone.

 

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