Jesus meets the disciples at the end of a bad fishing trip with breakfast.
He pulls Peter aside and asks him, will love me more than you love fishing and all that you’ve known to be your source and your identity? John 21
15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you [f]love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [g]love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you [h]love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [i]love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you [j]love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you [k]love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I [l]love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.
Jesus is using the word “agape” in his plea for love. He is asking Peter to love him with an unconditional, covenant keeping, lay down your life kind of love.
I think He was asking Peter to love Him unconditionally because He was really asking him to love the Sheep unconditionally.
Sheep have a way of challenging your love.
Not all sheep are bright, nor do they stay together well or follow as they should.
If you have been involved in leadership, trying to reproduce yourself in others you know what I mean.
Sheep don’t show up.
Sheep don’t keep their word.
Sheep don’t follow through
Sheep but one another
Sheep complain about the grass
Sheep like to get away from the herd
Sheep like to walk slow
Sheep keep their heads down.
Sheep need a lot of tending
Sheep need fluffing
Sheep need sheared
Sheep stray away and don’t recognize wolves well.
(by the way, this is not a rant – and I’m talking about you I’m sure)
Exasperation can be one of the common causes of Shepherd resignation. (IE., Team leadership resignation)
Yet for all that sheep do, we are called to reproduce the life of Christ in others.
We are called to unconditionally LOVE sheep
Love them when they are dumb
We are called to love them in exactly the same way we love the Lord. Not just in some friendly brotherly love fashion, but in a lay down our lives, covenant fashion.