PETER APOSTLE OF JESUS CHRIST
John Chapter 21 verses 1-19 – Jesus says three times, “Simon feed my sheep”
When Jesus rose from death, it was some loyal women who found the tomb empty (Mark 16:1-7), and inside the tomb was an angel who gave them a message. He said, ‘Go, tell the disciples (Matthew 28:7); and remind them that Jesus had told them that he would meet them back in Galilee after he had risen’ (Mark 14:28).
So they went, and while waiting seven of them spent a night fishing. But they caught nothing.
In today’s passage the apostle John tells us how they met Jesus beside the Lake of Galilee.
Away on the shore in the first light of dawn stood a figure. Who was he?
Tenderly he calls, ‘Children have you caught any?’ ‘No’ they said, as once before. ‘Try on the right side’ he said.
And so many were caught! That too had happened once before (Luke 5:1-11). John recalls it, and whispers to Peter, ‘It’s Jesus!’. Peter leaps into the water, leaving the others and the fish, as he splashes through the shallow water! ‘Bring some’ said Jesus. So Peter went back to help.
Now they all come, and what was said at breakfast – if anything at all – we do not know, as He who was God lovingly met with them and broke the bread. As once he had broken bread and blessed it when he fed 5000 with seven loaves and two fishes (Mark 6:34-44), so now too he hands bread and fish to them. Emotions were deeper than any speech.
After that Jesus takes Peter aside to speak with him. ‘Simon son of John are you the most loving of my disciples? do you really love me?’ Three times he asks it. Three times Peter is forced to say, ‘Yes, Lord; you know it.’
No more does Jesus call him Peter the Rock but just Simon son of John. No more must he compare himself with the other disciples, but he does reappoint him as apostle; three times he says, “Feed my sheep”; but, indeed, more than that: ‘Yes; you will die for me.’
Next time we will be reading in the Book of Acts how the Holy Spirit came in Jesus’s place – as he had promised – to help Peter and all his disciples to turn round and be courageous. Self-confident Peter had needed to convert (and so do we); Jesus had said to him, “When you are converted, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32).
The Book of Acts is a wonderful account of how the believers were changed and helped in their following of Jesus when they received the Holy Spirit.