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What does it mean to follow Jesus?
Growing With Jesus
* continued from yesterday *
When Peter got back to the fire, he noticed the fish already cooking. He slumped to the ground and dropped his fish, still flopping, next to him. The man at the fire prodded the coals, quietly. Peter stared at the glowing embers.
The fish sorted into piles, the six disciples approached the fire quietly, each hoping it was Jesus but unsure. The cook said, “Have some breakfast.” Then He picked up the bread and served it to them. And he took the fish off the fire and served it to them. They understood now the words of their friends who had first seen the resurrected Jesus on the road to Emmaus. As he served them, they recognised Jesus.
Eating quietly, the men pondered this new King and His otherworldly Kingdom. This was the third time Jesus had appeared to the disciples after being raised from the dead.
Jesus, sat across the fire from Peter. “Peter,” Jesus called.
Peter looked at Jesus through the wisp of smoke rising from the now dead fire.
Jesus pointed at the three still gasping fish next to Peter and to the piles of fish on the shore behind Peter, and the boat beyond. He asked, “Do you love me and my calling on your life more than your calling to be a fisherman?”
Peter nodded somberly and said, “Lord, I love you more than anything.”
Jesus raised his eyebrows, “Then feed my little lambs!”
Peter thought about the number of times Jesus had called Himself a shepherd. Little lambs. There were certainly no grown-up followers in this new Kingdom of Jesus’. Not yet anyway, Peter mused.
“Peter,” Jesus called again. Peter came out of his imaginings and looked, again, at Jesus. “Do you really love me enough to follow me?”
Peter nodded with more confidence. “Yes Lord, you know I love you like a brother!”
Their eyes were locked now. “Shepherd my sheep.”
Peter couldn’t look away. He stared into the eyes of his Master, Teacher, Savior and King. Could Jesus really be asking me to be one of His leaders again? After I swore I didn’t even know Him? He knows I ran away from it all. What is He thinking?
Jesus could feel the hole being stared through Him as clearly as he could feel the holes in his hands, feet and side. “Peter!” Peter’s focus returned to the present Jesus. The Lord searched Peter’s eyes. “Do you really love me like a brother?”
It had only been a few short days since Peter denied knowing Jesus three times. This third questioning of his love for Jesus hit Peter in the depths of his soul. “Lord, you know everything,” Peter said, his eyes filled with tears, “You know I love you more than any brother could ever love another!”
Almost in a whisper, Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep, Peter.” Jesus knew that following Him and being a Kingdom builder would lead to Peter’s death. But, looking through Peter’s eyes into his heart, Jesus also knew how much Peter loved Him and Jesus said, “Follow me!”
The Review and Herald, August 8, 1878