Ep.128: The Care and Feeding of Sheep.

Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray With Me”.  

In the final chapter of John’s gospel, the main characters are Peter and Jesus. Peter, probably thinking he disqualified himself as a disciple by denying Jesus, fired up his old vocation again by organizing an all-night fishing expedition with other former disciples, but they didn’t catch a single thing. 

Early in the morning, someone shouted a suggestion from the beach, that they try fishing on the other side of the boat. They did, and immediately their nets filled with fish. Someone counted 153. 

The voice that shouted advice from the beach was Jesus, and he invited them to a breakfast of fish and bread, cooked over open coals. Peter was glad to see Jesus. He must have experienced deja vu, remembering the time three years ago when Jesus found him fishing and said, “Follow me. I will teach you to fish for people.” Peter followed Jesus and loved him, but his apprenticeship ended with the disaster of denial. 

After breakfast, Jesus took Peter for a stroll along the beach. Three times he asked, “Do you love me?” and three times Peter replied, “You know I do.” Each time Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” In his years with Jesus, the most important thing Peter learned was not the skills to be a professional disciple, but the love that grew in his heart for Jesus. Jesus was satisfied that that was enough, and he gave Peter his job back. 

Jesus also gave Peter a new promise, saying Peter would die the same way Jesus did, by crucifixion. No more denial in Peter’s future, only faithfulness.

I hope it was a comfort to Peter, as he went through life serving Jesus, to know that each day brought him closer to sharing the kind of death Jesus died. I’m not sure that would be a comfort to me. 

Let’s pray. 

Jesus, like Peter we have felt your call on our lives. To fish for people. To feed your sheep. To love our neighbours. To serve your church. 

Like Peter, we haven’t achieved this. We want to build your kingdom, but we deny you. We want to build your church, but we end up arguing with sheep instead of feeding them. We want to become fishers of people, but we scare them away.  

Jesus, why didn’t you fire Peter after he denied you? Do you always restore and recommission fainthearted disciples?    

Jesus, even though the evidence for our love is weak and our denials are recent and strong, we say with Peter, “We love you.” We have no heart for our old vocation. Our years of following you have imprinted us with love. We are ready to accept as Peter did the way of the cross–your cross first, and ours to follow.

Jesus, we receive from you today whatever vocation you give us and whatever death will be our portal to life with you. Help us to feed your sheep. 


I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.