At the end of the reading from John 21: 15 -19 is an amazing conversation between Jesus and Peter. In the middle of the turbulence surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection we have a group of frightened, perhaps disillusioned followers of Jesus, running away and hiding, when Jesus appears among them. This was just one of the special conversations that took place. Peter’s life is radically changed. Perhaps we might observe that up until Jesus’ resurrection and appearance among the disciples, Peter, while quite committed, was not, yet totally and deeply connected to Jesus.
Now Jesus reminds him of his triple betrayal (those three denials in the high Priest’s courtyard) with 3 questions and three commands that invite Peter to a far deeper commitment. Do you love me – three times! And three commands: Feed my lambs; take care of my sheep; feed my sheep. This call for a deeper level of obedience where Peter’s commitment to Jesus is cemented in. For the rest of his life Peter went about teaching, feeding and taking care of Jesus followers.
As modern people living in post-post-modernism the idea of obedience to anything other than self is becoming more remote, becoming harder to take on board. Like Peter, we are living in turbulent times: wars, COVID, cultural changes, potential for change in our political leadership, people struggling financially, a housing crisis, and an ever increasing reluctance to submit to the authority of the responsible Authority’s of our nation.
What might deeper obedience to Jesus mean for each of us as we live with deeper faith, in this context?