Forgive yourself. Feed My Sheep.

Lost and Found

“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

Gospel – 5/29/20 – John 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them,
he 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.”
He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he 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.”

Today’s Gospel is the questioning of Peter and then his own commission.

Peter denied Christ three times on the night of Christ’s Passion. Today, Jesus takes Peter back to that night. He asks Peter three times if he loves him.

What exquisite torture that must have been. Imagine, your greatest failure, being brought up to you once again. Something you cannot let go. Peter knows in this moment the crushing weight of self doubt – of the difficulty of forgiveness. Especially the forgiveness Christ is seeking.

This is not about Jesus forgiving Simon. That’s done as soon as Simon denies him.

No, this is about rebuilding Simon. The hardest person to forgive is oneself. Jesus knows Simon is struggling in his failure. He has to put Simon back together. Today is that final step.

Remember the Resurrection in Mark Chapter 16? What does the angel tell Mary Magdalene in verse 7?

“But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.’”

AND PETER. (Sorry, I’m not yelling, just highlighting what might be missed) Peter is singled out – invited in an intimate way.

Today, Jesus takes Peter to a place Peter wants to forget. Why? Because, while Jesus has forgiven Peter, Peter hasn’t forgiven himself.

Three times – do you love me? Then forgive yourself so you can feed my sheep. You no longer need to worry about clothing, food or where you’re going.

You’re mine – feed my sheep.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: