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Feed My Sheep

In Luke’s version of Easter morning, Peter ran to the empty tomb, looked inside, then left amazed at what he had seen.


In the Gospel of John, Peter’s story picks up sometime later.


Peter, and the other disciples, have gone fishing.

Artwork: Feed my Sheep by Nicolette Penaranda

But after fishing all night, they didn’t catch anything. And so, they decide to return to shore when suddenly a stranger appears and calls to them from the beach, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” And Peter answered him, “No.” And the stranger said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”


It’s a story that sounds almost familiar. Because it is. This is almost exactly the story of the day that Jesus first called Peter. And again, on this morning, Peter decided that one more attempt wasn’t all that bad. And then, again, they couldn’t even haul in the nets because the catch was so great.


It’s at that moment that Peter realizes who it is calling to them from the shore. Peter cries out, “It is the Lord.” And then he put on some clothes (which seems the exact opposite of what he should be doing) and jumped into the lake, leaving the other disciples in the boat.


On shore, Jesus had started a fire, and they all eat breakfast together.


It’s so simple. So ordinary.


And then, in another ordinary act, Peter and Jesus go for a walk. And three times Jesus asks Peter the same question, “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me?”


And by the third time Peter is hurt that Jesus would keep asking the same question, so he replies, “Lord you know everything; you know that I love you.”


And Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.”


Given how similar this story is to Peter’s first call, I think we are meant to hear this story as a sort of second call.


A call to do greater works. Because for three years Peter has been following Jesus, learning from him, becoming like him, and now Jesus will ascend to the Father, leaving Peter and the other disciples to continue his work.


It’s a tall order. But at the beginning of the Gospel Jesus said to Nicodemus, “For God so loved the work that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” And given that Jesus is ascending, how can God so love the world without people like Peter? Without people like us.


We’re not just called to do loving things, but to be the very presence of love in the world. We give our hearts and whole selves to Jesus so that God might so love the world.


“Do you love me?” Jesus asks. Then, “Feed my sheep,” he commands.


 Peace and grace, Kimmy

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