Sunday, April 26

John 21:15–19 (NIV)

Jesus Reinstates Peter

15   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.” 16   Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17   The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18   Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19   Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Peter was a fisherman and one of the first disciples that Jesus called when he said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of people” ( Matt. 4:19 ; Mark 1:17 ). Peter was not only with Jesus during his entire 3-year ministry, Peter was one of three disciples who were closer to Jesus than all the others. But then Peter messed up—BIG TIME! Even though he knew Jesus better than anyone else, when Jesus was arrested, Peter denied knowing Jesus three times.

Have you ever felt like you messed up something so badly that you could never get it straightened out? Or perhaps you did something so hurtful that you felt you could not be forgiven for your wrong? That may be the way that Peter felt. He probably thought that Jesus could never use him again.

But that’s not the way that Jesus saw Peter. Jesus didn’t see Peter as unforgivable or useless. Jesus saw Peter as a person who loved Jesus but made a bad mistake when he was scared. Jesus saw a broken person who needed to be restored because his journey of following Jesus and fishing for people was not over, it had only just begun. And so, just like Peter had denied Jesus three times, Jesus restores Peter by asking Peter to confess his love for Jesus three times, and he commissions Peter to feed and take care of Jesus’ flock. Then Jesus reminds Peter that the invitation to follow Jesus still stands when Jesus said, “Follow Me!”

No matter what you have done, no matter how badly you have messed things up, Jesus doesn’t see you as unforgivable or useless either. If Jesus can restore and use Peter, then he can restore and use you too! And if you don’t feel this way, then maybe you know someone who does, and Jesus can use you to share this message with them.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being a God who restores and uses broken people like Peter. Thank you for restoring me. Lord, show me how you want to use me to share your message of restoration with others. In your name, and by your strength, Amen.