Last Sunday a young guy got up to speak on John 21. I was sitting in the front row – because I am
encouraging. I didn’t really listen to the Bible reading – because I am arrogant. I already knew what
John 21 is about. It’s about how Jesus does the X3 reinstatement of Peter to demonstrate that he is
graciously overturning Peter’s X3 denial of Jesus. I was writing down names of people to email on
Monday, but so it looked like I was taking notes on the talk – because I’m sneaky.
And then it suddenly happened. I started listening. Jesus says to Peter three times “feed my sheep”.
He’s giving Peter a difficult, important task. Jesus then tells Peter very clearly “follow me”, and
ominously hints at the way Peter will die, in consequence of taking on this task.
But then Peter does a weird thing that I’ve never noticed before. In verse 21 Peter’s response is not
to ask Jesus for more details, or find out the best way to get the job done, or thank him for the
privilege of serving. Peter immediately looks around him and spots John and asks Jesus “What about
him?” Jesus gives him a pretty curt answer – basically, “it’s none of your business Peter”. Yet again,
it’s not really Peter’s finest hour.
Peter’s interaction with Jesus, in the wider context of my attitude last Sunday, keeps rolling around
in my head. And I don’t have a pithy one liner to sum it up. But Peter and I seem to have a lot in
common. We are both tasked with being ambassadors for Jesus, and neither of us has the kind of
track record that would get us to a second interview for the job. Jesus inexplicably picks Peter, and
you and me, to speak on his behalf, and “feed” his sheep.
If I want to be more useful to Jesus, my experience is that “just try harder” doesn’t cut it. What I
need is a daily shift in my focus; not looking inward to my scant personal or strategic resources, and
not looking at others to either favourably or unfavourably compare, but as the writer to the
Hebrews so wisely exhorts, “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith”.
– by Cathy Tucker