We’ll visit a church in Israel this summer that’s called “The Primacy Of St. Peter.” It stands on the shore of the Sea of Galilee at the spot where Jesus appeared cooking breakfast around a fire for the disciples who were in a boat. It’s here that Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?” He asks Peter this question three times. And three times, Peter attempts to assure Jesus of his love for him. The Roman Catholic Church identifies this as the spot at which Peter is elevated as the chief apostle and the first Pope. Since Jesus addressed him only, it’s argued that He is the responsible party for feeding God’s sheep and all others fall under his authority.

I honestly can’t find that intent in this passage. That interpretation diminishes God’s call on all our lives as His disciples. What I see is that Jesus is explaining to us all by way of the fallen apostle Peter who denied him three times, that there is a prerequisite for serving God’s people. Thus, prior to commissioning him for service, Jesus makes clear that the compelling motive for ministry is always love. If we, any of us, love Jesus we will love His sheep and take care of them just as He would.

This should appear obvious to us all from Jesus explanation to the Jewish Lawyer regarding the greatest of all the commandments. He said “you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength.” This might be the summary of the first five of the 10 commandments. The second part is often seen as a summary of the last five of the 10 commandments. He continued, “And the second one is like it: You must love your neighbor as yourselves.”


“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15