Daily Devotion for April 29, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Dear Lord, I give you my hands to do your work; I give you my feet to go your way; I give you my eyes to see as you see; I give you my tongue to speak your words; I give you my mind that you may think in me; I give you my spirit that you may pray in me. Above all, I give you my heart that you may love in me. I give you my whole self, Lord, that you may grow in me, so that it is you who lives, works and prays in me.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father in heaven, creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon me and receive my heartfelt gratitude for all that you have done for me and for those I love. Thank you for all the graces and blessings you have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: Our faith and religious heritage; our food and shelter; our health; the love we have for one another; and the lives of our family and friends. Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued grace and blessings during the coming day. This I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, your only son, who has saved us from death.
May the Passion of Christ be ever in my heart. May your law and your goodness guide my every thought, O Lord. And may the power of your Holy Spirit flow through my words and my actions.
Walk with me, so that I may not be alone as I face this day, but always in your presence. Your joy is a lighthouse in a world often dark with sin, and I pray that I may inspire others as I have been inspired. In the name of Christ, bless me this day, and all whom I may meet.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
I have been established from everlasting, From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
John 21:15-19 (CEV)
Jesus Tells Peter to Follow Him
When Jesus and his disciples had finished eating, he asked, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than the others do?" Simon Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know I do!" "Then feed my lambs," Jesus said.
Jesus asked a second time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know I love you!" "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus told him.
Jesus asked a third time, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus had asked him three times if he loved him. So he told Jesus, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you."
Jesus replied, "Feed my sheep. I tell you for certain that when you were a young man, you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will hold out your hands. Then others will wrap your belt around you and lead you where you don't want to go."
Jesus said this to tell how Peter would die and bring honor to God. Then he said to Peter, "Follow me!"
Notes on the Scripture
Jesus is about to leave earth, and he sees to the continuation of his teaching and the provision of his grace. He spends some time with Peter, the "rock upon which I will build my church". After Jesus' arrest, Peter denied him three times. Now, Christ rehabilitates him by having him confess his love three times.
Three times he tells Peter to "feed" his lambs or his sheep. Jesus the shepherd will be absent but his flock will still need tending. And it will, indeed, be Peter who sees to the foundation of churches and the spread of the gospel, especially among the Jews.
This is the next-to-last lesson we will have from John's Gospel. Although Christ will say a few more words, he repeats "follow me", and these are the last words he speaks in John. Of course, he doesn't mean that the disciples should die and come with him; he has already told them he is going somewhere they cannot come.
It is very plain, that he is telling them not to get lost just because the shepherd has departed. They are to follow what he has told them. He leaves behind the Holy Spirit to guide them.
We must remember how unstable Jesus' religion might have become; like any organization, it was likely to become confused and splintered so badly that it would wither and die. Jesus tells Peter how to prevent this: simply follow his instructions.
In fact, it did become confused and splintered, but did not die. His story was taken down in writing by four men (with the help of many others) and churches would become established and flourish. They would go wrong in many instances; but always, his word, the Bible, would remain behind. And like Peter, we are able to follow him because of it.