from devotion to ministry

white coated lamb

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John 21:15-17

John 21:15 When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I care about you.” “Feed my lambs,” he told him.

John 21:16 A second time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I care about you.” “Shepherd my sheep,” he told him.

John 21:17 He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you care about me?” Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you care about me?” He said, “Lord, you are aware of everything; you are aware that I care about you.” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.

from devotion to ministry

Some translations do not highlight the different Greek words which John used in his narrative here. I chose to accentuate the difference between phileo1 and agape2 by translating the former as “care about “ and the latter as “love.” I will leave it to the scholars to debate the fine points of the difference between those words.

It seems to me that John is pointing out the transition that Peter is going through. All of the tests he went through as a disciple of Christ were to establish his loyalty and devotion to Christ. The tests he would face as an apostle would all be for the purpose of feeding and taking care of the flock.

Ministry is not an enemy of devotion to Christ. It is a means of demonstrating it.

1φιλέω (Jn. 5:20; 11:3, 36; 12:25; 15:19; 16:27; 20:2; 21:15-17).

2ἀγάπη (Jn. 5:42; 13:35; 15:9-10, 13; 17:26.).

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About Jefferson Vann

Jeff is a former Christian missionary.
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