Our Lenten Devotion for Tuesday, April 12, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
“God becomes a child dependent on human care, a boy in need of guidance, a teacher searching for students, a prophet crying for followers, and, finally, a dead man pierced by a soldier’s lance and laid in a tomb. At the very end of the story, he stands there looking at us, asking with eyes full of tender expectation: ‘Do you love me?’’’
(from With Burning Hearts, by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 70Henri)
Peter’s intentions were good. He promised Jesus that he would be faithful forever. But that very night by firelight, Peter’s faith faltered, and he denied his Lord. Countless times, we have promised to be faithful to Jesus. But when the pressure was on or temptations came alluring, our faith faltered, and we denied Jesus with our lips or our lives.
Like Peter, we may wonder if Jesus still loves us and if he can forgive our failures to be faithful. Jesus’ response to Peter after his resurrection leaves no doubt. If Jesus would fully forgive Peter, and then use him mightily to build up and unite his church, surely he will fully forgive us and equip us for faithful and fruitful service in his kingdom.
This is one of my favorite verses, in fact, I believe that it is a part of my calling. Simply put, loving Jesus means that we must feed others, not only with literal food, but also with spiritual and emotional food. Like Peter, we always receive God’s forgiveness and encouragement. Thus, we are empowered to feed the “Lambs of Christ”.
Jesus, we are so grateful that you continue to love us and forgive us, no matter how often we fail you. Amen.