Scripture Reading: John 21:1-17
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, You know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’” (John 21:15)
I imagine Peter found it difficult to live with himself after denying Jesus three times. I am sure that he felt disqualified from ministry. Perhaps that is why he went back to his former occupation of fishing (v. 3). But the Lord had other things in mind for him!
When Peter realized that Jesus was standing on the shore, he was the first one out of the boat (v. 7). When he got to the shore, he saw a charcoal fire (v. 9). This must have brought back painful memories for him. When he denied Jesus the third time, he was standing by a charcoal fire warming himself (John 18:18). Surely his mind went back to the time he denied his Lord.
Then Jesus said to him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” I find it interesting that Jesus used the name Simon to address Peter. This was his name before Jesus called him and changed it to Peter (John 1:42). Perhaps Jesus was reminding Peter of what he was before he met Jesus. I believe Jesus was preparing Peter for restoration and reconciliation. We must all face up to our failures, sinfulness, and unfaithfulness. We must be honest about our past.
Then Jesus asked Peter the same question three times: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” When Jesus asked him the third time, we are told that Peter was grieved (v. 17). Peter was coming to grips with himself and with his Lord. Certainly there is a correlation between Peter denying His Lord three times and Jesus’ three questions to Peter.
Jesus was restoring Peter to ministry. He recommissioned him with three statements: “Feed My lambs” (v. 15); “Tend My sheep” (v. 16); “Feed My sheep” (v. 17). Simon became Peter again and Jesus used him in a mighty way to establish the New Testament church.
Lord Jesus, I confess my many failures, my unfaithfulness, and the times I have denied You. I grieve over these things. But I am thankful that You come to me in my failures and restore me to faithful service.
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