Once more he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” - John 21:17
Have you ever noticed how our senses aid memory? For example, the scent of a rose brings a huge wave of nostalgia to my British heart.
After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples on a beach, having made a charcoal fire and cooked their breakfast (John 21:9). Of all of them, Peter must have caught his breath as he smelled the acrid smoke. It surely surrounded him with memories of an awful night not too long before when he had stood shivering as he warmed himself by an-other charcoal fire (John 18:18).
Now, on a beach, the resurrected Jesus was cooking breakfast for Peter and the others over a charcoal fire. After that meal, the Lord asked Peter three times, “Do you love me?” Can you imagine how that question, triggered by his recent failure, must have pierced Peter’s soul? Yet Jesus let Peter know that, in spite of his failure, Peter could be forgiven. What’s more, the resurrected Lord told him that he had special work for Peter to do.
Are you willing to let go of your past sins? Loving and serving God is a learned art—with many failures along the way. Peter could have told the Lord to go away because he was not worthy to serve him. He could have killed himself in despair, like Judas Iscariot did (Matthew 27:5). Instead, Peter allowed Jesus Christ to forgive him, cleanse him from his sins, and fill him with the Holy Spirit so that he could serve his Lord powerfully. We can do the same.
For Further Study: John 21:15-23
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.