During this time of year, I’m always inspired to read the passages of Scripture that surround the death and resurrection of Jesus. I especially enjoy reading the verses in red. Recently I was drawn to John 21:15-18, where Jesus is speaking directly to Peter. Prior to this conversation, Peter denied knowing Jesus. In John 21, after His resurrection, Christ led Peter through an experience that would remove the shame of his denial, re-establish their relationship, and challenge Peter to a life of significant service. In essence, Christ’s death and resurrection does the same for each of us—removes our shame, establishes relationship, and challenges us to a life of purpose.
Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. In the context of this conversation, I see three significant things for us to learn:
#1—Jesus’ question reveals the type of relationship He wants to have with us—one based on love. When we understand and receive His great love for us, our response can be one of love. Our love for God is the most important thing in life, and we must do all we can to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
#2—When Peter claimed he loved Jesus, the challenge from Jesus was to “feed My lambs” or “take care of My sheep.” Jesus calls all of us to serve others, and this must flow from our love for Him.
#3—Our love for God is most clearly seen when we serve one another. Since Christ’s ascension, He no longer dwells among us in human form. We have become His hands and His feet. He longs for us to be dispensers of His grace, compassion, hope, and insight. He wants us to care for His people.
Recently I’ve received a fresh challenge to walk into every situation in light of this mandate—How can I care for the individuals I’m encountering as He would? Is His love and grace flowing unhindered through my actions and words? Do the individuals need his peace? Or do they need the hope He came to offer? Maybe they need His insight or truth. They might need His compassion through a hug or a simple act of kindness.
I don’t want to become distracted by routines, possessions, achievements, or accolades. I want the love of Christ to lavishly flow through my life to every person I encounter. I want to take great care of the individuals He died to rescue.