Our verse for today comes from John 21:15, “So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Feed My lambs.’”
If the fear of public speaking is as real and pervasive as what so many lists and statistics claim, then I propose a corollary to that would be the fear of being called out or corrected in front of a large group of people. Why else are so many gripped with fear and paralyzed with silence when a question is asked of the crowd? Can’t you recall the terror you felt or sensed in others when your middle school teacher wanted someone to come to the board and solve a math problem? It was bad enough knowing you were going to struggle, so did it have to be put on display in front of the entire class? Having finished their meal with Jesus, the disciples were probably ready to get back to their catch of fish and cash in on the mother load that Jesus had provided for their nets. But before they got away, Jesus had something He wanted to go over with Peter. And as He starts in on the Rock, I can imagine Peter feeling very much unlike a rock. His thoughts probably more closely resembled a dreaded realization that Jesus was going to do this right there in front of the others. Peter had been able to deny the Lord in a much more clandestine manner in relation to his Master and cohorts. But this correction from his Teacher was going to be much more conspicuous.
However, it wasn’t a scolding that Peter was receiving. Rather, Jesus poured out His love through His challenge and His charge. Our Lord made it perfectly clear that Peter was called to follow Jesus and lead the others. His past was his past, and now Jesus was prescribing his future. It was the perfect manner in which to restore Peter, an honest assessment of his current condition coupled with the commission to be more for his Savior. Perhaps if we handled setbacks likewise, we could be more transparent with each other and go forth as the body of Christ to reach others as we follow Him. Regardless of which side of the conversation we are on, we have the model before us. Humbly go, to follow and feed.
As we seek Him today, provide the loving environment for another to share their burden with you. And if you’re burdened, trust the work of the Spirit through His loving children.