Read: John 21:15-25
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” (John 21:15, NIV)
Just a few days earlier, Jesus told Peter he would deny him three times. Peter had responded with strong words of denial. We understand Peter, none of us want to be the one who fails! Yet, we find Peter doing exactly what Jesus had foretold. He denied being one of those who followed Jesus, he denied knowing Jesus, three separate times!
Can you put yourself in Peter’s place? Can you imagine how you would feel? For three years you had been Jesus’ right hand man, his “go-to” guy. You were part of the inner circle, wherever Jesus was, you were right there with him. You had been there on the Mount when Jesus had talked to the great men of old. You had heard the Voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son!” Jesus had called you “The Rock”! He was going to build his kingdom around you! Then, you totally mess it up. In a span of a few dark hours, you ran away from the arresting party, and you denied even knowing him. What would become of you?
Now, Jesus is back! He has been raised from the dead. But the reality of your denial hangs like terrible dead weights around your neck. What does Jesus think of you, now?
He calls your name and invites you to go for a walk with him. You are expecting to be chastened, demoted, maybe even cast out from the company of Jesus’ followers. Your mind is racing, thinking of ways to excuse your behavior, wanting to ask his forgiveness. But Jesus… before you can say one word, he speaks: “Peter, do you love me?” He asks the question THREE times! Your answer is essentially the same each time, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you!” His response is simple, “Feed my lambs/sheep!”
Jesus is our Savior. He has come to forgive the sinner, the failure, the fallen. He has come to bring us back to himself and his Father, OUR FATHER, God!