Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

 Priests called to be imitators of Christ

St. John 21: 15-19

Pastoral ministry has got a different connotation. Today church has become an institution and pastoral ministry has become a paid office in the church. It has become a more or less profession and the church politics made it an established one.

After the denial, Peter was unhappy. Though he ran to the tomb, he led the other disciples to fishing. Jesus did not want to leave Peter in a powerless state. Therefore He singled him out for a personal talk. 

A gentile question: Jesus asked Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than all this?" Jesus addressed Peter in an ordinary name and not as Peter or Cephas. By his denial Peter showed that he is an ordinary man and not a solid rock.

The question and the answer are interesting. Jesus used the word Agape for love and Peter answered the Philio love. Agape is unconditional love and Philio is friendly love. Jesus did not want Peter's love when only things are going well. He wanted Peter's commitment even during difficult times.

The comparison more than these refers to other disciples. Once Peter said that 'I will lay down my life for you' (13: 37). It was only Peter who made this promise. When the other disciples ran away, they were not breaking the commitment. Peter had indicated that his love would keep him faithful to the point of death. Jesus was asking Peter 'does that commitment still stand, Simon?'

Some say that it indicates the fish, net and has small hut. Are you prepared to abandon all hope of a successful career to give up a study job and a reasonable comfort?

Peter's reply was Philio which is unconditional. Jesus accepted that reply and said "Feed my Lambs". This assignment focuses on the new believers, who need care and suitable feeding in order to grow up.

The question repeated: Jesus then repeated the same question but without the words of comparison. It indicates that is his love sincere or was it pretense? Peter answered the same manner to which Jesus responded that take care of my sheep. The focus here on older believers whose primary need is not for disciplining but guidance in their day to day life experience.

The third time: This time Jesus not only left the comparison but he used the word Philio. Okay, talking at the level of friendship can I have your assurance that you love me? At this point Peter realised that Jesus was using the three question formula paralleling his own threefold denial. His response to Jesus was Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you. It was as if I was telling to Jesus Lord you know that I denied you, and you know that it was not because I did not love you, but because I was frightened. Jesus said that feed my sheep.

Peter's assignment was that the sheep are not only to be cared but also to be fed. The preaching of the word is intended for the growth of the young in the faith, but for the guidance and the growth of the older ones. How Peter could glorify God. Death by which Peter could glorify God. Love for Jesus brought him a task. If you love me then give your life to feed the lambs. It also brought him a cross.

Paul said to Timothy Preach the word to correct, rebuke and to encourage. Time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Endure hardship. Do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. Peter became a martyr.

Does Jesus promise to supply the material things we are looking for? Jesus's approach was different from the preaching of the prosperity Gospel. 
Rev. Sam Lukose
Thamba, Florida

Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church

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