When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” John 21:15
Your Master couldn’t have been clearer about what is of highest priority in His kingdom. When He was asked which law of God was the most important, He said that loving God with one’s whole being and loving one’s neighbor as oneself are the two most important (Matthew 22:37-38). He couldn’t mention the first without the second because they are so closely intertwined. Loving God absolutely requires loving other people.
Isn’t it significant, then, that when Simon Peter confirmed His love for his Master, he was told to show love to the Master’s people: “Feed my lambs.” Of all the things Jesus could have commanded Peter to do to show his love, He simply commanded this. Knowing that He would soon be returning to the Father in Heaven, Jesus was ensuring that His faithful friend and servant would care for His people. He already promised that He would send another Advocate, the Holy Spirit, when He left so that His people would not be orphans; now He was recruiting Peter to look after them as well in the power of that Spirit.
Disciple, I encourage you to reflect today on the unspeakably great importance of your fellow disciples. Your Master cherishes them with such an incredible love that He counts it as a chief priority for you to learn to cherish them, too. Like Peter so long ago, one of the clearest evidences of your love for Jesus is your active love for His sheep. Do you remember the specific signal Jesus gave of our discipleship to Him? “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). This says volumes about the value He places on His people.
Seek new ways to show your love to your fellow disciples today. Ask the Teacher to show you how you might meet their needs and encourage their growth in trusting obedience. If you’ve ever wondered how you might do more for your Savior, consider that it usually means doing more for others. He takes both blessing and insult toward His own family as if they were toward Him (see Matthew 25:31-45 and Acts 9:4).
Pray sincerely for your brothers’ and sisters’ best, serve them in their need, encourage them when they are discouraged or weary, and teach and correct them in the truths of the kingdom. Spur them on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). As you do these things in love for them, you will most certainly be doing these things for your Master in love as well, and He is so very worthy of that.
Loving Him by loving His people with you,