Scripture: John 21:17, ‘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.’
Observations: After Jesus cooked and served breakfast to his disciples he asks Peter 3 times if he loves him. And three times Peter says, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you. (v15,16,17)’ This third time when Peter says ‘Lord, you know everything,’ he is recognizing that the risen Jesus truly is the Sovereign God who knows all things, and most significantly knows what’s in his heart. The fact that Jesus asks Peter three times reflects Peter’s three denials in chapter 18 (v17,25,27). If Peter was grieved by Jesus’ questions how much more was Jesus grieved by his denials? And yet Jesus’ purpose was to reinstate Peter, and call him to ministry – to ‘feed my lambs (v15)’, to ‘tend my sheep (v16)’, and to ‘feed my sheep. (v17)’ The point is that Jesus was calling Peter to be a pastor of Jesus’ new family, the church.
Application: Firstly, Jesus knows what’s in our hearts. Jesus knows the sins that we struggle with, the ways that we have failed him, but he also knows our love for him, the shame we feel over our sin, and our desire to live for him. We can be completely honest with Jesus, because he knows us. Secondly, Jesus gives us a new identity. We are no longer defined by our sin, by our failures, or our faults, rather through faith in Jesus Christ we become his sheep, we belong to him. Jesus deals with all our sin on the cross and we have been declared right in God’s eyes, and we have been adopted as God’s children. Thirdly, Jesus calls us to serve him. Like Peter was called to pastor the church, so we are called to build God’s kingdom here on earth, to proclaim the gospel, make disciples, and encourage others. How are you building up others in the name of Jesus Christ? Today be honest with Jesus, put your faith in him, and step out in obedient service.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for the wonderful grace that Jesus showed Peter in this passage, that despite Peter’s faults, Jesus not only forgave him, but welcomed him back into the fold and called him to serve Your people. Lord, I thank You that You have shown that same grace to me, that despite my sins, despite the ways that I have failed and denied You in my life, You have forgiven me and adopted me into Your family. Lord, I thank You for calling me into Your service, and Lord, I pray that You will use me to feed Your sheep. Lord, may I serve You with all my heart. Lord, give me Your Holy Spirit that Your people may be well feed. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.