Be Still: Dear Father, we love You so much. Thank you for loving us first. We can never say thank you enough. May our very lives be an offering of love and praise to You! Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come! All glory to You, Triune God!! In the strong and loving name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen and Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Be Strengthened: John 21:11-19
11Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. 13Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." 16Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." 17 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. 18 I tell you the truth, 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." 19Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"
Be Stretched: We began our Lenten journey with Jesus asking Peter, “Who do you say I am”? Since that conversation, much has occurred. Both Jesus and Peter have experienced intense suffering and also overwhelming joy. It is fitting to end this devotional with another of their conversations.
In today’s passage, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him, not once, not twice, but three times. At first this seems almost cruel, and it is clearly a painful exchange for Peter. However, it is also healing. By asking three times, Jesus allows Peter to affirm his love three times, one for each denial.
Jesus then invites Peter to follow Him, joining in the work of feeding His sheep. It will not all be easy. Following Jesus will bring persecution and death to Peter. But on this ‘rock’ Jesus will build His church! We are a part of the heritage of Peter’s faithfulness to his Lord and Savior!
Today, you are invited to answer Jesus’ question: “Do you love Me?” Before answering, take time to reflect on what God has revealed to you during the past weeks about His love for you. Jesus, fully God and fully man, suffered and died for you. He rose again on the third day, conquering death so you never need to be separated from Him.
It is this Jesus who invites you to follow Him. Are you ready to accept His rightful claim on your life? Will you feed His sheep and follow Him, no matter the cost to yourself? Like Peter, denying yourself will mean taking up a cross. But, like Peter, you will be a part of Jesus’ amazing work to build His church. What could be more significant or worthwhile?!
Does that sound exciting… or scary? Perhaps a little of both? No matter where you are in your faith journey, you are encouraged to:
Take time to Be Still in prayer, both speaking - and listening, to our loving Father.
Take time to Be Strengthened through regular reading of His Word. Be confident in God's assurance He will meet you as you read.
Take time to Be Stretched as you ask questions and reflect on how to take what you read into your day. And, when you see God working, join in!
May you continue to be assured of God’s deep love for you, made perfect in Jesus’ death and resurrection. May you not be content to keep this amazing good news to yourself, but, with the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance, find ways to share it. Oh, how He loves you, oh how He loves all peoples! Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!