In John 21:15-19, Jesus passes Peter through three questions to see where Peter was in his personal love for the Lord as a test of whether he would be a good shepherd of the flock of God. We know from Acts the Peter did well in most cases. But where he shines is in writing in his first letter to believers who were scattered through persecution; “shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2–3).
How did Peter learn these qualities? As Jesus closed out his cross-examination of Peter in John 21, He makes one short statement, “Follow Me” (21:19). None of us can learn the qualities of shepherding without being in close relationship and intimacy with the “Chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4). Following Jesus cannot be done at a distance and at the same time be learning from Him how each sheep is to be protected, fed, cared for and brought to full growth.
How close are you following Jesus? That is the true test of love!
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