4/18/2013

Feed My Sheep: Peter


Acts 9:36-43

Sheep on the Isle of Iona, 2012 (Michelle Hargrave)


Readings
After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”
Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, “Follow me.”
– John 21:15-19, The Message

Even then this wasn’t over. He kept looking at me. And now I knew what was coming, and it did come. For the third time he said, “Simon son of Jonah, do you love me?” I bowed my head and started to cry like a child. He was asking and he was telling, both. He knew. He knew. He knew how many times I said I did not even know him. He knew. 
I couldn’t raise my face to him. I said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” There was a great silence after that. Someone was moving, but no one said anything.
And then I felt his hand on my shoulder. Jesus was kneeling in front of me. He crooked a finger beneath my chin and lifted my head, and I looked through my tears and saw his eyes filled with such kindness that I only bawled the harder. He said, “Feed my sheep.”...So then he stood up, and he said to me all over again what he had said at the very beginning. He said, “Follow me.” – Walter Wangerin, The Book of God

Dorcas. called a disciple, was loved and revered among the widows of Jaffa, a Mediterranean port city to the north of Jerusalem. Widely praised for her talented sewing and many charitable works, she died after an illness and was raised to life again by Peter. The name Dorcas is Greek – the Aramaic is Tabitha. 
The only person to be raised from the dead by an apostle was a woman, Dorcas, and many became believers because of this miracle. Peter’s actions call to mind Jesus’ raising of Jairus’s daughter, which he had witnessed. The word “disciple” used to identify Dorcas is the only occurrence of the feminine form of that word in the entire New Testament. In this context, “disciple” seems to describe those with authority. – Miriam Therese Winter, WomanWord

Questions:
  • How much did Peter change between the end of the Gospel and this chapter in Acts? How was he different? Did Peter “feed my sheep” as Jesus requested? How?  Did he follow Jesus’ instructions, finally? 
  • What has Jesus told you to do? What do you need to be able to live that out?

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