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John 21 v 15 - 24

It appears that this is the first personal conversation between Jesus and Peter since Jesus' death and, before that, Peter's denial of Jesus. Peter was aware of how painful this conversation was going to be, but delighted that they were having it! What did Jesus mean by ''more than these''? It may be that He asked the question whilst indicating the fishing boat and the enormous catch Jesus had just provided them with. Being a small business man, Peter would have been thinking of how much income and security that number of fish would bring. ''Do you love me more than the joy of a large catch?'' The call of a steady job, regular married life and a quiet existence versus the struggle, suffering and joy of being an apostle of Jesus. It may have been that Jesus was reminding Peter of his statement that he would never fail Him, even though all the other disciples might: ''Do you love me more than the other men here?'' Jesus asked the question thrice to Peter, reminding him of his desertion, but also wiping out the memory of the threefold denial by the thrice-stated declaration of love. 

The difference between Judas Iscariot and Peter was that Peter loved Jesus. He did not reject him with malice aforethought, he did it in momentary cowardice and he was broken-hearted because of what he had done. 

Loving Jesus brings work. It obviously could not be enough for Peter's words alone to demonstrate that he truly loved Jesus more than anything or anyone else, Peter was called to shepherd the sheep and lambs of Christ's flock. Many of us know by experience that love is the greatest privilege in the world, but also brings the greatest responsibility. Ultimately, it would bring Peter to die upside down on a cross: love involves sacrifice. 

We may not be called to travel the world as Paul did the ancient world or to give up our lives in martyrdom in Christ's service, but we are all challenged to guard other believers from going astray and to feed beginner Christians with food from the Word of God.  

One more verse to go before we end our studies in the glorious book of John!


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