Greetings to the Father, Son, Spirit, angels and saints in Christ. I will continue to write about the truth that Jesus revealed about His relationship to His followers and the purpose of this relationship (being to equip them to build His church). I ended by talking about the revelation of the condition of Peter’s heart which was deeply committed to the call, since he left his trade to follow the Lord. This also revealed his ready obedience. We also learnt from the Lord that Peter was open to the Spirit of God revealing truth to his heart (as in the identity of Jesus as the Son of God) and this openness to spiritual revelation was an important factor in the growth of the early church as we learnt in Acts 10 and 15.

As I reread yesterday’s blog, the Lord drew to me a hidden meaning in Mt 16: 15 and 16:

  • It seemed that the disciples themselves were caught up in the public opinion.
  • The Lord instructed me that Peter’s revelation in verse 16 came after a pause in the discussion as the disciples wondered indeed as to Jesus was. This comes out especially in verse 20 when He commanded the disciples not to reveal His identity.

Peter’s revelation of the Lord was indeed truthful, but his knowledge was so limited that he rebuked the Lord when hearing about His death. Jesus later delegated the job of leading the church to Peter in the words “feed my sheep”. He knew Peter had the heart of the shepherd. He knew that Peter would stick to the truth as in Acts 15, for the sheep need to lie down beside still waters. He knew that Peter would function in the ministry of reconciliation as in the ministry to Cornelius the gentile and that he would become an important wedge between the Jews and Gentiles. Peter would do all of these things because he was faithful and committed.

Would you entrust your flock to a vagabond like Judas? Never! At this moment I am wondering, as you are, why the Lord continued to trust Peter as if he had never betrayed Him. Why did He tell Peter three times to “feed my sheep” to the point where Peter became grieved in his spirit. The Lord answered me right now as I am typing, that the answer is in the meetings after the resurrection. One account is in Jn 20 and 21. Peter and John were the first (after Mary) to hear that Jesus had risen. Why was this so? They were the ones who felt His death the most. Peter never, ever wanted Jesus to die, simply because the truth of the resurrection was not fixed in his heart. Jesus was such a friend that he did not want to part company. John the beloved outran Peter and got to the empty tomb FIRST, signifying his love for the Lord. John stooped and looked into the sepulchre, but Peter, ever the impeteous, went inside. John, according to Jn 20: 8, did not really believe that the Lord had risen, because he had lost hope.

The book of Luke, in detailing the same account, shows that Peter was the only one who went to check the validity of the women’s report about the resurrection and that the others did not really believe. At some point in time, Peter and his brothers went back to fishing. Why? I’m not sure yet. Jesus appeared to them for the third time after His resurrection and called out to them from the shore, giving instructions that led to a great catch. Pay attention here! John recognized His voice, but it was Peter, who was so overjoyed at the Lord’s presence that he impeteously threw himself into the water to get to the shore to do high fives and the other guy things that men do when they greet their best friends.

After they had eaten barbecued fish, Jesus spoke to Peter to determine the state of his heart in these words:

“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.  He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?

And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).

Jesus wanted to know whether or not Peter loved His cause of fishing men more than catching fish (an unfruitful occupation until the Lord showed up). Why did Jesus graduate Peter from feeding lambs to feeding sheep? He just told me that He was calming Him down and showing Peter His unconditional love in spite of his error. Apparently Peter knew what the Lord was speaking about in the words “feed my sheep”. Did they have their plans well laid out for the establishment of the church? Jesus is just now showing me that He was reinforcing Peter’s true purpose on earth in the words “feed my sheep”. You are now a shepherd and not a fisherman.

This was a PROMOTION and a task reserved for the competent. Why did Jesus interview him about this issue three times? Peter understood this to be a call from the Head of the Church to be the undershepherd. Peter tried to get some help for the task by turning around to ask the Lord, in essence, “why don’t you give some hard work to John?” (Jn 21:20-21). Jesus told him, in essence, none of your business (Jn 21: 22). What’s the point here? I’m not sure yet, myself. The Lord is writing to me to feed His sheep (trust and obey). How about you?