You’re not alone if you’re tired of this reading! Peter, who denied Christ three times, is now affirming his love for his friend three times. That assurance of love confirms Peter’s responsibility to lead the church. But we can’t ignore what follows. Jesus prophesies that Peter will be martyred! Then he immediately says, “Follow me.” What a strange call story. It’s a far cry from the Peter’s call story at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. There was no prophecy of death before Peter jumped out of the boat and chose to become a disciple. But this is a call to Peter to continue his apostolic ministry, knowing that he will literally die for the cause of the Gospel. His motivation to continue? A deep love for Jesus.
Peter is responding to the Call of the King, a response that means he is choosing to share in the triumphs and hardships that Christ endured, until death. For Peter there is something so captivating about Jesus and his mission that he responds so affirmatively. Our baptism and confirmation is a response to Christ’s call, but each day the Lord calls us to recommit to this mission, and like Peter we must do it from a place of love.