“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.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?”Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?””
(John 21:15–23 ESV)
I like St. Peter.
In this little vignette we see the restoration of Peter…he had denied the Lord three times before the crucifixion and now Jesus gives him the opportunity to affirm his love for Christ three times.
That’s really good…
He also gets to hear how he will die.
That’s really hard…
Then Jesus commands him to follow Him despite what it is going to cost him.
Following Jesus means carrying your cross to the place where they nail you to it.
The problem with this text is that it doesn’t come with pictures or video so we could have seen Peter’s facial expressions or body language.
We do get to read his reaction.
He looks at John trailing behind them and says “what about him?”
In other words “now that you’ve told me how much it’s going to suck for me, how about your buddy back there…the one who likes to call himself “the one that you love”?”
Jesus does not comfort Pete…He does not tell him that all things will be fair and equitable for him or that John’s life will be hard too.
Jesus simply tells him to mind his own business.
I really understand Peter.
I find myself in the midst of trial and difficulties looking around at others who seem to have ease and asking Jesus “what about them?”
I get the same answer Peter did…and the same command.
There is nothing in our current culture more odious to me than the concept of creating safe spaces where tender ones can be shielded from any thoughts or words that they find offensive or hurtful.
Life isn’t safe.
It isn’t fair or easy either.
So far, it always ends in death for each participant.
Life is one long risk…the foremost of which are risking to trust and risking to love despite the evident dangers of both.
You either taking the risk of living or you’re already dead, but still breathing.
Peter wrote two letters after this incident that said in the end it will be worth it.
We follow Jesus, trusting in His love even though things will be hard.
We choose to live.
He is the way, the truth, and the life.
Don’t look back.
Make your own application…