This past week I had been #Ponderizing John 21:17. It was the subject I taught in Elder’s Quorum and we covered it on the last Third Hour of Power. This passage has always been poignant for me. As I break down what I have pondered, think about what thoughts you have.
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?”
Why does the Savior ask Peter “lovest thou me?” three times?
The rule of three isn’t just a comedic principle, it is a heavenly principle as well. We see often examples of messages and visitations being delivered multiple times. When Joseph Smith was told about the Golden Plates, Moroni visited him three times. I think the repetition was to impress the importance of the question as well as the mandate. When Peter denied Christ, he had done so three times. Perhaps this was a sort of testimonial redemption. The idea of a repeated message even happens today. During General Conference, we might get variances in delivery, but the doctrine and principles are virtually the same.
“Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me?”
What is the cause of Peter’s grief?
I wonder if Peter thought the Lord doubted his proclamation, or even that he doubted it himself. His denial was still fresh in his mind and I would think there is some guilt still weighing on him and he comes face to face with Jesus. I have found that a testimony is found in the bearing of it. As we confess our heart, it causes deep reflection and we can feel the spirit. As he continually confirms his love for the Savior, his soul searching must be intense.
“And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.”
How does the Lord know we love him?
I asked this question during my lesson. One of the responses was that we show Him by our actions. While a true statement, it does not correctly answer the question. We show Him and others by our actions (like Giselle sings in Enchanted), but Christ knows we love him because he knows our heart. While He is glad for the good that we do, it is why we do it that is of the utmost import. When we love the Savior we follow him and do what he asks of us.
“Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
How do we “feed” His sheep?
This was a question that I most pondered the last week. I was fortunate to gain my answer from the lesson from Ezra Taft Benson. We feed His sheep when we love them. Our hearts are open as we care about Christ’s follows and rush to save those who have been lost in diverse passes or are taken by ravenous wolves. We emulate Him as the true shepherd, rather than the avaricious hireling. We earnestly seek after the one.