“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.” John 22:15
“Do you love Me more than these?” Jesus was appealing to Peter’s primary personality characteristic – his desire to be first. That was the root of his entire being. He was a very ambitious man. In fact, even in the way that he approached his Lord there had been a longing to be first, a hunger for superiority, a desire that he should be singled and pointed out – recognized above all of the other men. He’d said it. “Command me to come to You on the water.” It was his life’s motto.
Why should Jesus command him to come to Him before James or John or Nathaniel? He couldn’t help it. The natural desire, the instinct to be first, was in him. And it was that instinct – the instinct to be first – that Jesus now appeals to as they sit on the sea shore enjoying a breakfast of fish. “Simon, Son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?”
But notice carefully the new revelation that Jesus makes to Peter’s old nature. “Feed My lambs.” Its almost as if He was saying to Peter, “Peter, you’ve been trodding the wrong path if you want to get to greatness. He that is least will now be the greatest of all. Do you want to be the most spiritually significant of all your companions? Then you must be the least proud, the one who forgets himself the most. You must come down to feed the little lambs of the flock. You must drop into the poorest valleys of the world. Your power to love must cause you to lose every sense of your own power. You must forget your own interest in the interest of those lives that are below you. You must forget your wants by feeling the hunger and thirsts of others. You must take no thought for your self by accepting the burden of the one great thought – that of humanity’s burden and the bearing of my cross.” Jesus conquered the world by emptying Himself of His glory, humbling Himself to be born of a virgin and becoming obedient unto death, even to death on a cross.
How I long for Him to help me to be great like Him. May He give me His spirit of selflessness so that I might be inspired by the power of His love. May He teach me to forget my own will so that I can be strengthened by a greater will. Let my life be buried in His love, hidden in the sense of His presence, overshadowed and lost and absorbed in His all-exceeding glory. Then in His cross I will finally reach my crown. Calvary will become my Mt. of Olives. My loss will become my gain. My death will be the strength of my life. It is when I feel that I have nothing that I will finally possess all things. When I am the least conscious of me is when I will be the strongest of all.
That’s why I pray “Lord, teach me to feed Your lambs.”