When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again, Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:15-19 (NIV)
If the spiritual journey we are taking is doing its work, we are growing every day. Does becoming older bring you closer to Jesus Christ? In today's text, Simon Peter is working to become closer to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is asking Peter, "Simon Peter, do you love me?" The question is a personal one. Do I really love Jesus? Jesus is giving Simon Peter a second chance - an opportunity to be restored, to wipe the slate clean. We should be glad that God gives us a second chance. God calls us to say he loves us and wants to know that we love him too. If I am a Christian, I am not a volunteer. If I have been saved and born again, set on a rock to stay, I don't have a choice, I am not a volunteer. Everybody in the church has been called. Everyone - both clergy and laity have been called. The definition of a volunteer is “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.” (Webster.) We cannot serve the Church only when it is convenient for us. "We are Called." All basketball players have the name of the team on the front of their shirts and their names on the back of their shirts.
Jesus asked Simon Peter, “do you love me?” first, and then gave him his assignment.
Points of today’s lesson are: we are 1) Asked, 2) Assigned, and 3) then we Ascend.
1) Jesus asked Simon Peter if he loved him, then he gave him his assignment. Jesus asked Peter first, “do you love my sheep?” Then Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” Some of us may be part time lovers. We have to give God our whole self. Lord, here I am, arms outstretched. My main credible source is my love. If I know how to love God, my assignment will match my love. I must love Jesus. Jesus needs to know, “do you love me?” We must do things for the pure love of Jesus. We must have divine, unconditional love. Jesus is not willing to say that Peter's past will disqualify him from serving. Jesus wanted to know now, Simon Peter, “do you love me? Then follow me. Feed my sheep.” Jesus is saying that I just called to say that I love you and even when you fail or messed up the last assignment, I still love you, follow me, grace has given you a second chance, because love compels you to do it. This is how the committed love and respond to the call.
2) When we think of leadership, we think in terms of power. In ministry, it is about loving Jesus, serving him, and pleasing him - by serving him, loving him, and loving others. We must get and be ready to take control. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that everybody can be great and everybody can serve. Get rid of the notion that you can't serve. Volunteers can quit whenever they get ready. Be mature, led, surrender, commit, and be vulnerable to feed God's sheep.
Every day, we should say to those who we love, “I love you.” Not only in our words but in our deeds too. Every single day, God finds a way to send us a message to say, “I love you and I care about you. I am going to back up my words. All that I ask in return is that you love me.” Give of my best to the master. Get ready to go for Jesus. There is no where I can go to get away from God. I just need to love God back. I must be willing to give God my all. If I give God my best, he will give me his all. I just called to say I love you. Amen.