When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord,' he said, 'you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs.' Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep.' The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep.' (John 21:15-17)
Reading these verses without any background information could be confusing. Let's look back at Peter's rollercoaster of a relationship with Jesus. First, Peter is called to drop everything and follow Jesus, which he does. And Peter confesses that he believes Jesus is God's Son. But when Peter tries to walk on the water to Jesus, he begins to sink because of his fear. Later, Peter is sure that he will never disown Jesus. Yet, when Jesus is crucified, Peter denies Him three times. In John 21, Peter is a little hurt that Jesus asks three times if he loves Him, but in this way Peter is being forgiven for the three times he denied Him. And Jesus is also saying, don't let your past keep you from doing good in the future but go and "feed my sheep." Although we may be quick to judge Peter for all of his "mistakes," when we look at ourselves we may realize we aren't much different. We have moments where we are really following the Lord. But we also have days when we worry and don't put our trust in God, when we don't stand up for the truth or confess that we believe in Jesus, or when we are so angry at someone that we do or say something we later regret. Fortunately, no matter what we have done, Jesus' love for us never wavers. He stills loves us completely and He wants to know if we love Him too. If we do, we should "feed His sheep." Feeding his sheep may mean talking to that homeless person on the street, asking our neighbor with a disability if we can drive them to church, buying groceries for the family who is hungry, or being a friend to someone who is lonely. Although our salvation is not based on these kind acts, if we are really experiencing that unconditional love that Christ gives us, how can we keep from feeding His sheep?