The portion of scripture in John 21:15-17 is a pretty familiar one where Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. And many times we focus in on Peter’s frustration with Jesus for the repetition of the question and his apparent feelings of offense at Jesus for even having to ask the question. Some stress the importance of Jesus asking three times because previously Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. But one important thing that is often overlooked is Jesus’ reply to Peter each time. First Jesus replied “Feed my lambs”, next He replied “Take care of my sheep” and third His reply was “Feed my sheep”. Jesus was showing the true shepherd in Him. His concern for His sheep, or in other words, those who had come to follow Him, was of major importance to Jesus. What should be extremely humbling to us is the fact that, in the scripture, God’s people are compared to sheep. And the reason we should be humbled is because sheep are not the smartest of animals. From the lambs to the adults, they need a shepherd and face much peril without one. Jesus warned of hungry wolves (false teachers) who were on the prowl waiting for an opportunity to pounce, especially for the one who wandered off alone, away from the protection of his shepherd. Unprotected sheep, those without a shepherd, are easy prey. The nourishment and protection needed for His sheep was His Word! Peter was to take up that assignment and make sure that Jesus’ words remained strong and vital in the lives of the people. Keep yourself protected with the Word and be sure you remain under a shepherd who nourishes you with the Word!
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep. John 21:15-17 (NLT)
4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? Luke 15:4 (NLT)
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)