Today’s Scripture: John 21:15-17
15 After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
Peter is one of my favorite people in the Gospel of John. As we conclude our walk through this Gospel, I think it’s fitting that we focus on Peter. I think Peter is all of us.
The thing to remember about Peter is that he was an absolute failure as a disciple. When it mattered most Peter denied he knew Jesus at all. Not only that, he did it three times!
How many times have you felt like Peter – like a total failure? I feel this way more than I would care to admit – especially when it comes to being the disciple that God is calling me to be. I totally get how Peter must have felt.
When Jesus was raised from the dead, I’m sure Peter felt elation. But I wonder if there was maybe some part of him that felt guilty for the way he behaved?
All that was put to rest in this passage which takes place on the beach as Jesus ate breakfast with his discipleship who had just finished fishing.
Three times Jesus asks if Peter loved him and three times Peter said yes. After each time, Jesus gave Peter a new assignment.
This ritual was important, I believe, in the life of Peter. Three times he denied Jesus. Three times he told Jesus he loved him. And three times Jesus instructed him as to what was next.
When we fail, we can feel like that’s the end – that we will never be useful again – that we will not progress in our career or in our discipleship or in our relationships. But Jesus’ attention to Peter is the same attention he gives to us – a ritual of restoration and a way forward.
I’m not sure what failure you are dealing with today. It might be something from many, many years ago. But hear the words of Jesus – your failure does not define you – there is a new assignment coming. All you have to do is say “Yes, Lord.”
God we have failed so many times in so many ways. Thank you that our failures do not define us. Thank you that you give us an opportunity for a new life, a new calling, and a new commitment.