Re: Jn 21:15-17 (a woolly reading)

From: Steven Cox (
Date: Fri Apr 17 1998 - 08:39:40 EDT

        Hi Paul
        Although I grew up with sheep in the next field I can't
        claim to be an expert (any New Zealanders on the list?)
        but from memory of something said by a lay preacher who
        was in fact a sheep shepherd as well, the analogy in
        this passage may well be based on animal-lore:

        Quote: "Lambs don't need shepherding because they follow
        the older members of the flock, so once they've been
        shown the udder they will automatically stay with the
        mother. The older sheep are the difficult ones because
        they follow the grass, not the udder, and that can get
        them into sticky spots. So first you have to pasture
        the sheep along the road then you get to some grass
        and keep them there while they eat.

        Unquote: If that is the case then these three commands
        could be seen in parallel to Paul's advice re care both
        of the newly born, and the less newly born.

        It also illustrates that John (i.e. Christ) didn't throw
        near-synonyms around without reason ..with all respect
        to Carl whose mail on the more infamous first half of
        this chestnut just came into the inbox.. and I could well
        be telling a shaggy sheep story :-)

>Second, if the same question is being asked three times, should we also
>expect the resultant charges to be synonymous? Do they all mean the same
>Is this just an emphatic way of driving home the point, i.e., if Peter
>really loved Christ, then he would tend His flock, which includes feeding
>and caring for the entire flock, young included?

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