Peter's story - Part 2: Feed my sheep
Available for over a year Peter's story - Part 2: Feed my sheep by Rachel Boxer
Hello again my friends! You’ve returned to hear how my story continues? Let me take you back to where I finished last time...
Jesus was my best friend and I had deserted him. Worse than that, I had said I’d never even met him! What sort of a friend was I?
The days that followed were the very worst. Jesus was cruelly nailed to a cross, a terrible punishment normally given to only the very worst criminals. When he died, I felt as if my world had ended.
But Jesus had always said that he came to bring hope to those in despair - and he was true to his word.
Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb and then two days later two of our friends who had been to the tomb came rushing back with the news that they had seen Jesus - that he wasn’t dead, but very much alive! I wasn’t sure whether I dared believe them.
Later that same day, we all met together and locked ourselves in our meeting room, because we were still afraid of being arrested.
Suddenly, Jesus was there with us too - we knew it was him because he showed us the scars on his hands where the nails had been. It was true: Jesus was alive!
Our despair turned to joy, because now there was real hope - even death wasn’t the end!
About a week later, I was fishing in a boat with friends, some of the other disciples of Jesus. Before Jesus came, that was my life: being out on the water, catching fish and then selling them in the market to make money. It was our family business.
It felt good to be out in the boat again, but we’d been fishing all night and caught nothing!
As dawn broke, we saw a figure standing on the shore. A man who called to us: ‘Friends! Have you caught anything?’
‘No!’ we shouted back.
‘Let your nets down on the right hand side of the boat!’ he continued. ‘Then you will catch some fish!’
Well, we had nothing to lose by trying, and down went the nets again.
When we tried to pull the nets in, we couldn’t: they were just too full. So we had to drag them to the shore still in the water.
As we got nearer to the shore, we realised who the figure was: it was Jesus! I was so excited to see him that I jumped into the sea...and waded the rest of the way to shore.
Jesus had lit a fire on the beach – a very welcoming sight after our long night fishing!
‘Bring some more fish for me to cook,’ Jesus told us. ‘You must be hungry!’
Jesus took some bread in his hands, broke it up and gave it to us with the fish. It was the best meal we’d ever tasted, but it was what happened after the meal that changed my life.
Jesus came and sat beside me. I still felt so ashamed of how I’d failed him on that dreadful night in the garden of Gethsemane, and so I hardly knew what to say to him. But Jesus spoke first. ‘Peter, do you love me?’ he asked.
‘Lord, you know that I do!’ I replied.
‘Then feed my lambs!’ said Jesus.
I sat for a few moments, playing with the pebbles at my feet, not sure quite what to say in reply. Jesus didn’t have any lambs!
Then Jesus spoke again: ‘Peter, do you love me?’
‘Yes Lord! You know that I love you!’ I said, a second time.
‘Then take care of my sheep!’ Jesus replied.
It was becoming a very strange conversation because Jesus didn’t have any sheep either!
A third time, Jesus asked me: ‘Peter, son of John, do you love me?’
‘Lord, you know everything about me - you know that I love you!’ I replied, hurt that Jesus had asked me three times...and at that very moment, I realised what Jesus was doing.
Three times I had said I didn’t know Jesus...and now he had given me three chances to start again.
‘Then feed my sheep!’ Jesus said a third time, looking towards the others on the beach.
Now I finally understood. Jesus didn’t mean real sheep: he was talking about people! Jesus had been our shepherd. We, his disciples, had followed him and relied on him, like sheep need a shepherd to look after them. Now Jesus was asking me to take over, to be like a shepherd to his sheep.
And so that’s been my life’s work: caring for all those who follow Jesus, trying to be as good a shepherd as he was.