This week in our journey to Pentecost, we are looking at Peter’s encounter with Jesus along the lake. We’ll be looking specifically at John 20: 15-19. We are finishing with a look at the world in front of the text, what do these passages mean for us today? Yesterday we looked at Jesus’ first two questions, and today we look at his final question and command:
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.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt 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. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”
We talked yesterday about how we aren’t just forgiven to feel good about it, but we are forgiven for a purpose. We are forgiven so that we can be faithful for the kingdom. We are forgiven so that others can know that they are forgiven. Today, we see Jesus’ third question and His command.
A third time Jesus asks Peter if He loved him. This third time hurt Peter deeply. Why? Because three times, Peter had the chance to stand for Jesus. Three times, at Jesus’ most alone, he had the chance to make a public defense of Jesus, to publically let others know that he was a follower of Jesus. Three times he had a chance to make a public stand for Jesus. And three times, he chose to deny Jesus. Three times he decided to take the path of least resistance. Three times he decided to stand with fear instead of having courage.
He failed Jesus. Three times. Three times. He failed.
And what does Jesus do? He covers each of these failures with grace. Each of them.
The same is true for you and for me today. Each of our failures is covered by grace. We are loved not because we are worthy. We are loved because we are His. We are loved because He made us and desires us. We are made in His image. We are loved because He is love.
Your mistakes are covered by grace today. Please know that. Please let that sink in. Please let that penetrate your very soul. You are love more than your mistakes.
After this, Jesus tells him, feed my sheep. Care for the spiritual wellbeing of others. And follow me. That’s what it all comes down to, friends. Following Jesus. That’s what we are made for. That’s our purpose. Our calling. Our everything. Follow Him.
Today, wherever we find ourselves, may we do that. May we follow, for He is life.
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