A NECESSARY REPETITION

Friday: May 29, 2020

Reference: John 21:15-19

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

Jesus assigns some tasks to Peter in the text we read, and this is presented in three tiers: feed my lambs, take care of my sheep and feed my sheep’. Since the flock belonged to the same breed of animal, we might have been okay with Peter receiving a blanket instruction: ‘take care of my sheep’. But there was clear categorization of these jobs and that highlights the need to gain clarity about the tasks we are assigned because however similar two jobs may be, each will have specific traits needed to excel in it.

Another aspect of this text that drew my attention is when Jesus asks Peter the same question ‘do you love me’ on three separate occasions. Peter gets frustrated with the repetition and appears almost to shout at the top of his voice ‘you have already asked me this question twice in the space of a few minutes. And you ask again.’ He then proceeds to emphasise ‘Lord, you know that I love you’

As frustrated as he might have been, this was necessary to override the three times Peter had denied Jesus. I am not certain at that point he would have forgotten his betrayal of Jesus his betrayal of Jesus for and deep down, it might still have kept playing in his mind ‘I betrayed the man three times, I, Peter, abandoned him’. Jesus thus proceeded to rewrite the memories of that broken mind so that instead of moving on with a memory of I betrayed him, Peter would journey with: ‘I have affirmed my love for the man’. And so it was.

Not even once then in scripture is there a moment of reminiscing this betrayal because it was rewritten in Peter’s memory with a new ink of deeper personal devotion, commitment and love.

#sly

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