LATJ: All Tied Up

2 10 2009

knotIn the book of John, there is a dialog between Jesus and Peter that is very powerful. Jesus asks Peter three questions and provides three answers. On first read it appears that Jesus asks the question three times in order to provide emphasis to what He is saying. But that is merely a deficiency in most translations. Let’s take a look at this dialog.

John 21:15 – “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs’.”

When Jesus commands us to “Feed My lambs”, He is telling us to tend to the needs of the young by teaching them, caring for them, and nurturing them. In essence, to feed them.

John 21:16 – “He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah’, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep’.”

When Jesus commands us to “Tend My sheep”, He is telling us to shepherd the flock. In essence, to guide them.

John 21:17 – “He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep’.”

In this third instance, the tone of Jesus’ question changes. When He asks “do you love Me?”, He is really asking “Would you die for me?”. A true shepherd will do anything for his flock, including laying down his life to protect them. As a result, Jesus’ command here is to “Feed My sheep.” To protect them at all costs.

I think that this progression of caring for the young, guiding the maturing, and then caring for and feeding the mature believers is speaking to our responsibility to help each other in our walk and to hold each other accountable. None of us are perfect and we all have things going on around us and in our lives that can cause us to slip up and sin if we aren’t careful and diligent. As believers, we are to gracefully and lovingly help each other by pointing out sinful activities in a fellow believers life. I love what Charles Colson says about accountability:

The best protection I have discovered is accountability. Since we all have blind spots, we must submit ourselves to those who can see the logs floating in our eyes.”

Realize that you are a work-in-progress and that we all need help in our journey.

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