“Follow Me”

No, that is not me asking you to follow my blog (but that would be ok…:), but Jesus’ direction to Peter in today’s gospel reading:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
He then said to Simon Peter a second time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
Jesus said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a 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.
Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger,
you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted;
but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands,
and someone else will dress you
and lead you where you do not want to go.”
He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God.
And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”

An interesting note here is that Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him just as Peter denied Jesus three times during Jesus’ Passion. Jesus’ response after Peter answers the question is always “take care of my people”. Peter had failed Jesus when Jesus needed him most, yet here was Jesus again placing his trust and an enormous responsibility on Peter even though he had failed him previously. Jesus requires unlimited love from Peter in this reading as He does from all of us. Peter loved Jesus, but when Jesus was arrested, Peter’s fear was stronger than his love for Jesus. Now Jesus is telling Peter that to “tend my sheep” requires unlimited love on Peter’s part. Do we love Jesus with unlimited love? I believe that as we surrender to God that His love grows in us to reach that level of unlimited love He asks of all of us. After indicating to Peter the kind of death he would suffer, Jesus then tells Peter “Follow me”. Following Jesus is hard work. It will absolutely take you places you do not want to go, but you will do it because of your love for Christ. we fail Jesus everyday, but He never fails us. Jesus has confidence in us and expects us to behave as His disciples with unlimited love towards one another. This thought can be very intimidating in today’s world where our views as Christians many times go against the views of society. That didn’t stop Jesus during His ministry and He asks us to trust Him and “Follow Him” as He guides us to that level of unlimited love He requires of all of His followers. It can be a tough journey, but we have the best guide possible to ensure we find our way.

God Bless

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