Highlights In Today's Reading:
The cross and the crown. Cruelty of soldiers emphasized (19:1-3). Jesus' death and Passover emphasized (19:28-37). His burial and the witnesses of His resurrection (19:38-42; 20:1-29; 21:14). Why John wrote this Book (20:30-31). A threefold emphasis, not just to Peter, but to all of us: Feed My sheep (21:15-17).
Today our attention is focused upon one of the great opportunities of every Christian. To get his attention, Jesus said three times to Peter: Lovest thou Me more than these? . . . Feed My sheep (21:15-17). But, in order to recognize it's importance, we need to return to a scene just prior to the crucifixion. There Peter had confidently boasted to the Lord before all the Apostles: Though all men shall be offended because of Thee. . . . yet will I not deny Thee (Matt. 26:33,35)..
Peter was confident that his loyalty and love for Christ were so strong that nothing could cause him to fail his Lord. But only hours later, Peter was caught off guard and denied his Lord — not just once, but three times (Luke 26:34,74-75). Peter knew that he had miserably failed the Lord and truly repented (22:55-62).
Peter is representative of every true believer in Christ. His sin was not planned but the result of unforeseen circumstances. Peter's restoration gives us assurance that even when we deny the Lord, either by word or by deed, our merciful and compassionate Lord still provides a way for us to be forgiven and restored to perfect fellowship with Christ.
Before Peter's denials, Jesus had said: Simon, Simon (Peter) . . . Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren (22:31-32). The Lord did not pray that Peter would not fail but that his faith would not fail. All of us need to recognize the dangerous deception of pride. Self-confidence can assert itself in every believer and is always waiting for the opportunity to proclaim its self-sufficiency.
Peter's awful denial should lead us to realize how important it is to: Pray, lest ye enter into temptation (22:46). Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil (11:4). Jesus asked Simon Peter: Lovest thou Me more than these? (John 21:15). When tested, Peter was brought to see the unreliability of human wisdom and the need for humility.
Often things we had planned for personal pleasure must be set aside, postponed, or forfeited to serve the Lord by helping someone in need. His words are a reminder: Lovest thou Me more than these? . . . Feed My sheep (John 21:15-17).
Thought for Today:
The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord; and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (Is. 29:19).
19:1 scourged =b> whipped with leather cords weighted with sharp pieces of bone or lead; 19:30 It is finished =b> His physical ministry was complete.
For John 19:24: See Ps. 22:18. John 19:36: See Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20. John 19:37: See Zech. 12:10.
Pray for Staff: Karen Hawkins • Government Official: Rep. Dennis Moore (KS) • Country: Kuwait (2 million) in the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula • Major languages: Arabic and English • Some religious freedom • 95% Muslim; 4% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for courage to praise the Lord before unbelievers (Ps. 96:3-5).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 16:25