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The Third Sunday of Easter

April 22, 2012


Feed My Sheep!



 Jn 21:1-19 or 21:1-14


 At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias.
He revealed himself in this way.
Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus,
Nathanael from Cana in Galilee,
Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”
They said to him, “We also will come with you.”
So they went out and got into the boat,
but that night they caught nothing.
When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore;
but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”
They answered him, “No.”
So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat
and you will find something.”
So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in
because of the number of fish.
So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”
When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord,
he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad,
and jumped into the sea.
The other disciples came in the boat,
for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards,
dragging the net with the fish.
When they climbed out on shore,
they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”
So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore
full of one hundred fifty-three large fish.
Even though there were so many, the net was not torn.
Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”
And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?”
because they realized it was the Lord.
Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them,
and in like manner the fish.
This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples
after being raised from the dead.
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.”





So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”  It was the third time that the Lord had appeared to his disciples after his Resurrection.  Got to be something about that number 3!   It was after the meal that Jesus chose to speak to Peter, and not a private conversation it was, but right there in front of all of the others.  Out of all of the others, including the disciple whom Jesus loved, John (not meaning that he didn’t love the others, but John was his favorite as was mentioned in an early account in scripture), He chose Peter.  And Jesus drilled him.  “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  And then there was a command, “Feed my lambs.”  A second time he asked Peter the same question, and Peter answered even more so, and Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”  And a third time he asked Peter the very same question, and this time Peter was a bit distressed, and replied, “Lord, you know everything;  you know that I love you.”


Indeed Jesus did know everything about Peter.  It was Peter who wanted to protect Jesus in the garden when the soldier came to arrest him, and Peter cut one of their ears of with a sword, which of course Jesus restored.  It was Peter who got out of the boat when he saw Jesus waking on the water and Jesus bade Peter to come to him, and Peter started.  But, Peter lost faith, and began to sink into the water, only to have Jesus lift him back out.  And it was Peter who was reprimanded by Jesus and told, “Get behind me Satan,” when Peter assured him that no one would bring Jesus harm.  And finally, it was Peter, who denied Jesus three times in the temple area that he did not even know Jesus, when he was accused of being one of his disciples.  And how remorseful Peter felt when that cock crowed three times as Jesus said it would.  How mindful was Peter of his sinfulness.


And yet, it was Peter, as sinful as a he was, the one whom Jesus chose to have this particular conversation with, in the midst of all the others.  Really sounds kind of strange doesn’t it.  Well, not really.  Because it was sinful Peter that Jesus told to feed his lambs, tend his sheep, and feed his sheep.  WOW, that was some kind of a command, that Peter was given the responsibility to all of this over all of the others.  But why?  Perhaps it was because in an earlier account in scripture that Jesus said of Peter, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church.  Peter was the rock, it was ultimately Peter’s unfailing faith, even though sinful as he was, that Jesus was to build his church, and there would be many successors after him.


Again, why Peter?  Perhaps Jesus wanted all to know that this church would not be perfect.  That this church would be full of broken, sinful people.  People who would make bad choices in their lives, fall from the fold, and be once repentant, be restored.  How glad I am  of that, for I have struggled with sin all of my life.  I have struggled with choices, made many bad ones, and some good ones, and often felt unworthy of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. 


Living in faith to our Lord is a daily task, and we often fail.  We fail because we are human, because sometimes life situations cause us be become broken, hurting, distressed, rebellious at times, and disobedient, all a part of our sinful nature.  But despite that, Jesus loves us so much that he forgives.  No one is without hope of that forgiveness.  No one is left living this journey without his unconditional love.  So, Jesus gave that task of reassuring his lambs and his sheep, to Peter, to tell us all this awesome message.  But we also have the task of telling others the same message, and of reassuring each other of his forgiveness.  Perhaps, not doing that in the loving way that Jesus told Peter and us, is the greatest sin.


It is my hope that this message was meaningful to you.  God bless you this coming week with confidence that you are loved and forgiven.  Peace of Christ be with you.


© Deacon Steve A. Politte





“switchfoot your love is a song” by theseventhelf








Come In Out of the Pain!

“My dear child, come in out of the pain” –
That’s what I heard the Master say.
“I’m so alone and scared, how can that be.”
He replied, “Take my hand and come to Me.”

“But I am just a lowly sinner –
I have traveled many a dangerous road,
often times, living in selfish ways –
unworthy of You and Your love, I know.”

“None is worthy of my love –
it’s a gift that I freely give,
filled with blessings, hope and grace,
to help all to know how I want them to live.

Some folks do listen to My voice –
while many just turn away,
but those who put their trust in Me –
will find the light of another day.”

He continued to speak so gently -
the words I needed so badly to hear,
that my sins were indeed forgiven –
no longer did I have to live in fear.

He called for me to be a servant –
to follow Him and learn His ways,
to reach out, instead, to all others –
and to never again, go astray.

I felt the tear drops swelling –
as they slowly filled my weary eyes,
and a gentle peace overcame me,
and it was then that I no longer cried.

So, I began to embark on a mission –
to do for others in His holy name,
to tell them of what the Master had said –
“My dear child, come in out of the pain!”

©Steve A. Politte







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