John 21 What do you do when you don’t know what to do? Do you chill out with food or binge on TV? For Peter, who had not a clue what was next, he returned to fishing, which is where our story picks up. It is familiar territory where life is simple. What is “the doing” for you?
The story unfolds in the early hours of the day when the sun is just creeping over the horizon. A voice almost sarcastically says, ‘you don’t have any fish, do you?’ Translation, what a wasted night you have had. But in obedience, just like before, the net is moved, and fish swim into the net. The disciple Jesus loved, a.k.a. John recognizes that this had to be the work of the Master. On the shore, the Master has prepared breakfast, but it isn’t until after breakfast that we see the whole purpose of this time together.
Jesus begins his work of restoration for Peter with three simple basic questions but with precise instructions. May we glean the instructions for ourselves.
Turning to Peter three times, He reminds him that He called him to be a fisher of men. That is our reminder too! Three times Jesus asks: Do you love me? Go and feed my lambs, shepherd my sheep, and feed my sheep. Jesus is saying my instructions are not to just any lambs, but “MY” lambs. Not just any sheep, but “MY” sheep. I am calling you and am leaving you to do “MY” work amongst the flock. Do you love me more than x, y, z?
Jesus asks us those same three questions. Feed/Shepherd/Feed the ones I have called, wrapped in my love, and kept from the enemy. Will you do that?
Do you feel like you are lost in the midst of the voices that are shouting? Do you fear your bleating won’t be heard? Beloved, the Good Shepherd hears your bleating and He is coming to your rescue.
Memo to self on Day 100: Make a joyful noise unto the Lord! Shout out praises to the Lord! Worship the Lord with joy! Enter his presence with joyful singing! The psalmist reminded himself that this is the day the Lord has brought about. He wrote: I will, and we will be happy and rejoice in it. [Ps 118]
Indeed, we are the sheep of his pasture. He called us out of the darkness of sin into the light, and one day we will see our Good Shepherd. What a blessing to know that He directs our steps and takes us to the refreshing quiet living water. He knows that rushing water and the swirling waters of today’s news is unnerving. It is here that our thirst is quenched, and our heart renewed. What a blessing to know that in His pasture, we find peace amid the storms. It is in His pasture we can feed on the lush green grass and lie down in peace. What a blessing to know that He is the Good Shepherd who leads us, for we require His tender care. What a blessing to know that out of His love He ransomed us with His blood.
Truly the Lord is good, and his mercy is everlasting. His truth endures to all generations. Therefore, serve Him with gladness and come before Him with singing.
Let me ask you; Do you know God? Let me tell you about my God because He can be your God too! He is “great and certainly worthy of praise,” He is the defender of both the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, the young and the old. You may have heard about his mighty deeds, but have you seen them? Observe His fingerprint of lovingkindness upon the lives of those he calls his own. It is because of this that we are to “go and tell” that the next generation may also know and be known as children of the Almighty God.
Are you rich? Are you poor? It matters not your station in life. What matters is that you are certain about your future destiny. If you fail to listen and heed, your destiny will be the same as fools whose shepherd is death and separation from the Almighty God. But if you listen, heed and accept the Living Word, your destiny will be in the eternal heaven and you will be guided on your journey by the Good Shepherd whose voice you hear and know saying this is the way walk ye in it. [Is 30]
Are you Jew? Are you Gentile? Are you male? Are you female? Are you slave or free? In this present world we make distinctions but “there is no partiality with God.” [Rom 2:11] Those who hear his voice and follow, to them the promise is this: For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.[ Rom 8:14]
Are the mountains your habitat, the ocean, the desert or the cityscape? Wherever you are—God is there too. Stop to praise and worship him today.
As a fellow elder, Peter exhorts the elders to be shepherds of their dispersed flock. They need to be shepherds that are alert, watching over and leading the flock step by step away from the adversary the devil who is busily prowling around seeking whom he can devour. They are to be exercising their position voluntarily and doing it eagerly as well as be an example. Pray for them to be humble, sober and that they can resist the devil whose allure of the world is tossed before them.
Beloved, if ever there was a time it is now that we must be praying daily for our church leaders as they work to fulfill these huge tasks. Pray for their study time that it be quiet and undisturbed. Further the 23rd psalm gives us ideas on how to pray:
Pray for them as they seek those green pastures where they can lead their flock to find respite from the cares of the world; to have wisdom to help the flock find the quiet waters where they can be refreshed; and pray that they know how to guide the flock in the paths of righteousness. The enemy has placed lions in the road and seeks to undermine the elder’s work and ours as well. That is why we must be interceders and in a mode of prayer for our elders and leaders of our flock.