In a lecture in 1911, Oswald Chambers reflected on being a young shepherd in the highlands of Scotland: “When you have to carry across your shoulders a dirty old [goat] and bring it down the mountain-side, you will soon know whether shepherding is poetry or not.” He didn’t want to romanticize this form of labor as “poetry” but rather called it “the most taxing, the most exhausting, and the most exasperating work.” The hard work of shepherding people is what Jesus entrusted to Peter, for Peter would face criticism, misunderstanding, and other challenges in caring for His flock.
Chambers reflected, “To whom did He say, ‘Feed My lambs’? To Peter. Who was Peter? A very wayward sheep.” Even though Peter had denied knowing Jesus (SEE JOHN 18:15–27), Jesus met him on the beach and lovingly restored him in front of the other disciples (21:15–19). Peter’s bitter experience taught him how to be tender and watchful over the Lord’s sheep. Having received the Holy Spirit, he was ready for the toil and joys of being a shepherd to people.
Like Peter, we may have failed Jesus through denials, wrongdoing, selfishness, or pride. But He seeks us out and forgives us, just as He did Peter.
He restores us and gives us a new commission— helping us care for others. As we follow Jesus, we share our love for Him with those we meet.
How do you think Peter felt while eating the bread and fish Jesus prepared for him? How do you react when you’re extended love and forgiveness?
Jesus, give us strength to keep trusting You in the hard times.
When Forgiveness is enough
Because Jesus loves us in a profound way, sharing that love with others is something we carry forward. It’s not always easy, especially in a culture that’s hostile to the gospel message. In a peaceful setting in Jerusalem, watch as Meno Kalisher, Daniel Kalisher, and Debby Nalbandian describe how God gives them the strength they need each day to share the message that has the power to change the world.