LifeLink Devotions

Thursday, April 13, 2023

John 21:15 “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” 

The prospects for finding fulfillment in life are greatly enhanced when we humbly serve Jesus Christ. In fact, they are guaranteed. Look at the life of Peter. He went from being totally proud to truly humble in a series of three questions, and each time Jesus offered him purpose and fulfillment. When Peter admitted the true nature of his heart, Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus gave him the responsibility of nurturing those who were new to the faith. They would need gentle care and guidance so that they might grow up to be reproducers of their faith in the lives of others. Peter was given a starting point of ministry – give the lambs the milk of truth that you have.

When Peter responded honestly and humbly to the second question, Jesus gave Peter a promotion. “Take care of my sheep.” This statement of Jesus imparts leadership and authority to Peter. When the sheep see that you truly care for the little lambs, they will trust you to care for them as well. Now that Peter was beginning to understand humility, he was qualified to be a leader of others. True leaders are servants of those they lead. Do you remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:25 – 28?  “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” I am shocked at how many churches are being destroyed because of pastors, elders, deacons, and others who lead from a position of prideful power rather than from a position of surrendered serving. Peter was learning to be a servant, and Jesus qualified him to take care of the sheep.

The third honest response of Peter’s heart to Christ’s question is also significant. Jesus asked a different question this time – he changed the word for love from agape to phileo. Peter had responded to Christ’s use of agape love with phileo love, which was his honest evaluation of his heart’s status before the Lord. Peter’s pride was pinched hard when Jesus changed the question, and he got his feelings hurt. But this is exactly where Jesus wanted him. It was only now that Peter would have to fully humble himself before God by being completely transparent before Jesus. Peter’s response is deep. He tells Jesus, “You know all things,” using the Greek word that means to see completely. Peter admits that Jesus can see his heart. Then Peter says, “You know that I love you.” But Peter uses a different word for the word know, which means to learn to know completely and fully understand. Peter is admitting to Jesus that these are his true feelings, and he isn’t putting up a front.

Here’s the point: Peter confesses to Jesus that what He has seen in his own heart is the real Peter, and that he will always be real with his Lord. He admitted he had much more to learn. In response to that totally transparent and humble openness of Peter’s life, Jesus gives him another promotion – “Feed my sheep.”  Peter was given the position of teacher of the mature Christians. He wasn’t given this position because he had suddenly become educated or been given an advanced degree from a seminary: it was because he had fully humbled himself before Jesus. When Peter admitted that he would never try to better himself in God’s eyes or other people’s eyes but would be humbly honest about who He was and surrendered to God’s power in his life, He was promoted to the highest place of ministry. ”Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

Peter learned that lesson. Have you?

Pastor John

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