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John Collins10/01/2012

John 21 shows the Love of Jesus towards Peter, who He knew would suffer and die for his Name.

After the miracle of the fish in the net, and after the breakfast that followed, Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him.  Each time, Jesus instructed Peter to feed His sheep.

Peter was grieved at the repetition in the question, reading more into it than he should have.  He said, "Lord, you know everything!  You know that I love you!"

Jesus replied that He was not questioning Peter, but giving him strength for the next journey in his life.  "When you were young, you used to dress yourself and carry yourself wherever your feet could take you," Jesus said.  "But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and take you where you do not want to go."

Jesus was preparing Peter to be martyred.  Peter would one day be crucified under Nero's authority, slain in the same manner as Jesus Christ was upon Calvary.  

The name "Peter" comes from the word "Petra," meaning "Rock."  Jesus said that "upon this 'rock' [petra], I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."  Yet, Peter was not a solid foundation -- Peter was described to have been weaker in the faith.  Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus questioned Peter three times after the meal.  Peter is the one that was described as losing faith when walking on the water, and cutting off the ear of the Roman soldier that arrested Jesus.  Peter is the only one who entered the empty tomb of Christ to see for himself.

Peter was a living, breathing example that though we may have little faith, all we need is faith the size of a mustard seed to serve Christ.  We can easily say that we would never deny Christ given the same situation, but one can only know our true actions if we were actually placed into the shoes of the Apostle Peter.

All the same, Jesus loved Peter, and wanted to give Peter special attention to prepare him for the day that he would take his stand for Christ.  Peter would lead many souls, sheep, to Christ.  Like Paul, Peter spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ far and wide, setting up many churches throughout the ancient world.  This man of little faith was truly a Rock, and was made so by the revelation that Jesus was the Christ.  Christ was made weak so that we could be made strong.  

All it takes to lead souls to Christ is given in the last words of Jesus to Peter in this section:  Follow Me.  If we follow Christ, he will guide our footsteps.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Would we follow Jesus unto death?  Would we suffer and die for Him?  Do we think we cannot lead others to Christ because our faith is too weak?  Have we placed our faith in the Rock, or in the sinking sand?


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