Fed, Now What?
Last time we had a Smorgasbord. I signed off with the tagline: Always hungry for the Gospel. We do that, don’t we? Finnish off one meal, then start planning on the next. Yes. I am talking about both real food and also the Word of God. We are created that way. “He humbled you and allowed you to be hungry. Then he fed you manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known before, in order to teach you that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”
Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.”
Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them, and also the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I care about you.”
Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”
A second time Jesus asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
He said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I care about you.”
Jesus told him, “Be a shepherd for my sheep.”
He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you care about me?”
Peter was grieved because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you care about me?” He answered, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I care about you.”
“Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.
You may accuse me of stretching the Biblical narrative here a bit, but I will do it for illustrative purposes. The last time Jesus spoke directly to Simon Peter (before the above passage) was in Luke 22 at the Passover, after the institution of Holy Communion:
The Lord said, “Simon, Simon, pay attention: Satan has asked to have you all, so that he may sift you as wheat. But I prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers.”
He said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death!”
But Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know me.”
Notice the pattern: Jesus feeds the body and we live “by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Breakfast, then the talk. Jesus asked Simon, “Do you love me more than breakfast? Feed my sheep!” Supper, then the talk. “When you have returned to me, strengthen your brothers.”
Fed, now what? Some sobering words from Ecclesiastes:
Go ahead, eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God is already pleased with what you do. Wear white clothes all the time. Always put lotion on your head.
Enjoy life with the wife you love all the days of your life, that vanishes like vapor, the life which God has given you under the sun, all the days that vanish like vapor, for that is your portion in life and your reward from all the hard work at which you worked so hard under the sun.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your strength, for there is no work, planning, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, where you are heading.
And from Jesus:
“I am the Bread of Life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
Fed, now what? Feed my sheep. Strengthen your brothers and sisters.
Trust the Promises,