Today’s Reading: John 19-21
Today’s Reflection: John 21:15-17
15) 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.” 16) He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17) He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
The behavior of the apostle Simon, known as Peter, on the day before Jesus crucifixion was as predictable as it was tragic. Just hours after boasting of his faithful devotion to Jesus (Luke 22:33-34), Peter would three times deny even knowing Him, much less being one of His disciples (Luke 22:54-62). As the cock crowed, reminding Him of Jesus warning prophesy, as Jesus even observed Peter in that moment, the weight and significance of his betrayal weighed heavily on him.
After this Peter came to the conclusion that most of us would come to: I have no business being a disciple or apostle. There’s nothing left for me to do but to return to where I came from. So Peter went back to his old life of fishing boats and nets. When Jesus rose from the dead He found Peter by the sea.
As they spoke, Jesus asked Peter a simple yet profound question and gave him an equally simple yet profound instruction. And Jesus did something simple and profound with these two statements
First Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, to which Peter answered yes. Then Jesus instructed Peter to ‘feed His lambs’. But Jesus did this three times. Even as Peter agonized over being asked if he loved Jesus a third time, it must have dawned on him: three times denying Jesus then, three opportunities to affirm his love for Jesus now. Jesus was restoring Peter back to right relationship with Him, and reaffirming His faith in Peter to carry out the mission of taking the Gospel to the world.
The bible tells us that when we sin, we cause a separation between ourselves and God (Isaiah 59:2)—we break the relationship the Father desires to have with us as His children and cut ourselves off from His power and influence in our lives. The purpose of Jesus ministry and His life, death and ressurection, is to heal that rift, restore us to relationship with God, and empower us to do His good works in this world (Ephesians 2:1-10). Just as Jesus did this with Peter, He seeks to do it with each of us. To forgive, to heal, to restore, to reconcile, and to empower.
Ephesians 2:1-10 – 1) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.