When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend my sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ And he said to him, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.’ (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, ‘Follow me.’
What must it have been like for Peter? He betrayed Jesus, and he went back to his nets – perhaps a second betrayal from the one who was to be the “Rock”?
And Jesus asks him if he loves him – and again, and again – no wonder he felt hurt. And then Jesus tells him that he will face martyrdom, and at the end of his ministry asks the same question as at the beginning: “Follow me”.
Can you remember the first time that you decided to follow Jesus? Perhaps the naivety – the not knowing what the implications were?
Have you discovered the implications of following Jesus? Have you failed, once, twice, three times – and more? Have you accepted God’s forgiveness? Have you forgiven yourself?
Has Jesus called you again – reminding you of his love for you; of your love for him? Has he called you to follow him again, but this time knowing what he is asking? Knowing that you will fail – have you dared to say yes?
Lord Jesus Christ,
we confess we have failed you as did your first disciples.
We ask for your mercy and your help.
Our selfishness betrays you: Lord, forgive us. Christ have mercy.
We fail to share the pain of your suffering: Lord, forgive us. Christ have mercy
We run away from those who abuse you: Lord, forgive us. Christ have mercy.
We are afraid of being known to belong to you: Lord, forgive us.
Christ have mercy
May the Father forgive us by the death of his Son
and strengthen us to live in the power of the Spirit all our days. Amen.
I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you or laid aside for you,
exalted for you or brought low for you. Let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours.
So be it. Amen
Most merciful God,
who by the death and resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ
delivered and saved the world:
grant that by faith in him who suffered on the cross
we may triumph in the power of his victory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.