If you love me, feed me sheep. John 21:19

“If you love Me, feed My sheep.” John 21:19 [Sunrise Photo April 11 2013 ]

Day 11 Feed My Sheep

Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon Peter, son of John, do you love Me” [with a deep, instinctive, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?

Peter was grieved (was saddened and hurt) that He should ask him the third time, Do you love Me?’

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You” [that I have a deep, instinctive, personal affection for You, as for a close friend].

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”   John 21:19 Amplified Bible


In my Bible, this conversation between Jesus and Peter is subtitled “Jesus Reinstates Peter”.

The definition of reinstate is to  “restore (someone or something) to their former position or condition.

Peter had blown it in a big way. When the crisis came, he lost his head and his courage. He did what he swore he would never do. Deep grief and regret were wrapped around his psyche like huge prison chains.

He was never going to get over this.

Yet, despite his massive failure, Jesus still believed in Peter.

I have to apply this story to my own life. So do you.

This is good news.

Peter’s story is not the only one. The Bible is the epic story of God re-storing, re-purposing, re-inventing , redeeming, reinstating – men and women who have betrayed and failed him.

My favorite of course is David, “the man after God’s own heart” who is commended to all God followers as the example to follow.

But there is also Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Mary, Zacchaeus, Paul and many , many others.

Moving On

Notice that Jesus does not spend any energy breaking down what went wrong, the lessons to be learned, how to do better next time, etc. It’s not relevant.

Jesus checks Peter’s heart. This is what matters.

If your heart is is set in the right direction, God can use you.

This is the primary qualification for Jesus style, kingdom building leadership.

“Are you sure you love Me?”

Yes Lord.

“Then I have a very important mission for you and it’s going to cost you your life. Take care of my sheep. Invest in them. Pour your life into them. Don’t make the future about you, make it about them. I know I can trust you to do this.”

A Mission for God

The Jesus method of restoration is not just saying, “hey, we’re cool, everything’s ok, have a nice life”

Reinstatement means you can get back on course as a representative of Christ,  to bring healing in this world.

The call of Jesus was not just for Peter, nor just for the leadership elite.

I believe every follower of Christ is called to be a leader in some context. You have sheep to shepherd, whether it’s in the classroom, at the workplace, in your neighborhood, wherever.

Bloom where you are planted. Lead.

Jesus does not call us to be religious consumers. He calls each and every one of us to be fishers of men. To be leaders who care for his sheep.

You and I can do what Peter did. You can be  a good shepherd.

The good shepherd knows “it’s not about me”, he lays down his life for his sheep.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
My Jesus I Love Thee 1864, Words: Will­iam R. Fea­ther­ston, age 16


I invite you to pray with me today.

“Jesus thank you for the gift of restoration. Help me to love You deeply, and from the overflow of that love – lead in a manner worthy of your trust. May Your kingdom come, and Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.”

About This Devotional Series

According to the historical church calendar, the Easter season is the 50 day period from Resurrection Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.  I’ll post a fresh devotional thought with my sunrise photo of that morning, everyday through Pentecost, commenting as the Spirit inspires. Check out the rest of the series here.

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