John 21: 15 - 19
It is hard to imagine a more important question that Peter could ever have faced than whether he truly possessed a devoted love for Jesus. Though Jesus' repeated question may have puzzled Peter or even hurt his feelings, Jesus was really showing compassion for the disciple who had denied Him. (18:17, 25-27). Jesus knew that even though Peter was emotionally enthusiastic, his commitment would not last if he was not confident of his love for Jesus.
Two Greek words for "love" are used here. The first (used in Jesus' first two questions) is agapao, that speaks of an intelligent, thoughtful and purposeful love involving the entire personality, but primarily a decision of the mind and will. The other word is phileo, which speaks of a warm, natural and more spontaneous sense of feeling and affection-a more emotional love. Through these two words, Jesus points out that Peter's love must be more than a commitment of his mind, but also of the heart. It must be a love motivated by both purpose and personal attachment. In verse 16 Jesus says, "Tend my sheep," Jesus' description of His followers as "lambs" (v15) and "sheep" (v 16) suggests four things.
(1st) We need pastoral care from loving, capable and faithful leaders.
(2nd) We need to feed constantly on God's Word.
(3rd) Since sheep have a wandering nature, we need repeated guidance, protection and correction from God so that He may use us.
(4th) We must continue to be loyal disciples (i.e. followers, disciplined learners, students) of Jesus Christ.
Life Application: How do you like being a lamb/sheep? This is what we are all our lives. Are you continually deepening your personal relationship with Him and are you faithful in attending church and listening to your Pastor? That is what Jesus expects of us.
Praise/Prayer: Dear Father, I am so thankful that You sent Your son Jesus, to show us how much You love Your sheep. I am also thankful that I had some experience as to how shepherds take care of their sheep and how he trains them to obey him and how he protects them. I know that is what You want of us - to be loyal and faithful sheep. Then, there is Heaven, Hallelujah! Amen!