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.”
In the verses before today’s passage, we see Jesus appearing for the third time to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. First, He provided a huge catch for them while they were fishing. Then Jesus provided them with a breakfast of bread and fish. Then Jesus provided Peter with the restoration he needed.
John 21:15 says that when the disciples had finished eating, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Peter of course said, “Yes.” Repeating the question two more times, we see a reminder of Peter’s threefold denial, and we see Jesus restoring Peter’s call to shepherd and care for His people.
The first time Jesus responds to Peter, He says, “Feed my lambs.” The other times He says, “Feed my sheep.” Lambs are young sheep who are still feeding on their mother’s milk. They are of higher value than older grazing sheep. I wonder the significance of Jesus, the Lamb of God, first telling Peter to feed his lambs.
Jesus fed people physically by providing food for His disciples and for the crowds of people following Him. More importantly, He fed them spiritually by feeding them with the everlasting Word of God.
Jesus knew His new Christian community would continue to need nurturing care, so He reminds Peter, a forgiven sinner, to “Feed my lambs.” I believe this is a call for actionable love; for us older Christian sheep not to just preach the Word (talk the talk), but to care for and love others as He has loved us (walk the walk).
Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” Yes Lord, I do!
Lord God, our provider, thank You for loving and caring for us. Your Word supplies never-ending nourishment for our souls that we may never thirst or hunger again. Thank You for the reminder to feed Your lambs as we minister to those around us. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to pay the cost of our sins. Amen.
Contributed by “A Forgiven Sinner”