Easter Sunday has come and gone but with Spring breezes and beautiful flowers all around, I cannot stop thinking about the huge excitement of the Resurrection. It's everywhere--in the new grass, the new blooms, the new life of Spring!
After Jesus came back to life, He appeared to His disciples only a few times. It wasn't like it was before, where they lived together day after day. And whenever they saw Jesus, it was like they didn't recognize Him. He was so changed, so resurrected--so alive!
My favorite encounter the disciples have with the resurrected Jesus was recorded in the book of John, chapter 21. The disciples are clearly unsure what to do with their lives and are back in their fishing boats. They've had an unsuccessful night of fishing and I'm guessing, are pretty dejected.
Then, just as He's done before, Jesus stands on the shore and tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat. And when they do, the catch is so big they can't hold it all! That familiar miracle is when Simon Peter recognizes the Lord. He jumps in the water and swims back to Jesus.
Can you imagine? Peter was probably hoping for things to go back the way they were. To be the disciple of the wandering preacher, the miracle worker. His delight in seeing Jesus takes away all pretense and fear. He just wants to be with Jesus again.
After the disciples eat with Jesus (again, giving them bread and fish--so familiar!), Jesus pulls Peter aside. Peter, who denied Jesus on the day of his death. Peter who called down curses to prove he didn't know the Son of God. Jesus gives Peter three simple commands:
Feed my lambs.
Take care of my sheep.
Feed my sheep.
It was as if he was saying, "Peter, it all changes here. You were my right-hand man. You followed me. You listened while I spoke, while I healed, while I argued. Now, it's your turn. You will speak. You will heal. You will argue and convince and lead. But you'll do it in a simple way: by feeding, taking care and loving my people. You'll lead all the people--from the little lambs to the oldest ones to me. This is your new normal. This is the next step."
We talk a lot about the Great Commission: going into all the world to make disciples, teach and baptize. And it's easy to view it as something big and aggressive. But I love this personal little commission to Peter--and I think to us, as well. In order to make disciples and teach and baptize, we need to love and feed and take care of those around us.
It's what Jesus did.
It's why He came.
He loves us.
He wants us to show that love to others.
Family Idea: Why not have a fish-and-bread picnic with your family? Grill fish or make tuna sandwiches but sit outside together and read John 21. Talk about how feeding and taking care of Jesus' sheep is helping make disciples. Think of 3 ways you can love, feed and take care of people in your life this week.
Amanda White is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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