Peter, “Will you die for me?” Part Two

[John 21:15-19] So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?” (Referring to the boat loads of fish they had just caught after following His directions to cast their nets on the right side of the ship.) He (Simon Peter) said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He (Jesus) said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He (Jesus) said to him the second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” Simon Peter, said to Him, “Yes, Lord, You know that I love You.” He (Jesus) said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He (Jesus) said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, 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 all things; You know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he (Peter) would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

Some forty days prior to this event, Peter had fled the courtyard in panic after he denied knowing Jesus three times on the night prior to the crucifixion of the Lord. Peter’s confidence had been badly shaken and his courage had failed him in front of hundreds of people. He left the courtyard shamefaced, but he hadn’t wandered so far away from the Lord in the meantime that the Lord didn’t know where to find him. After that horrible night; Peter and several of the other disciples went back to their old lifestyle because he was sure he would never see Jesus again despite the fact that Jesus had told them numerous times they would. Peter was a fisherman by trade, so he returned to the sea to make a living for his family; and the Lord found him on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

The false bravado Peter had shown throughout the three years he walked with Jesus failed him when he needed courage the most. It wasn’t the threats of the Roman soldiers that broke Peter’s courage and self confidence that evening; it was a slave girl who pointed an accusing finger at him and told the crowd in the courtyard that he was a follower of Jesus and a Galilean.

This despicable act of cowardliness in front of hundreds of people gnawed at Peter’s heart and mind until he couldn’t stand himself any longer; so he went fishing. But the Lord knew the true condition of Peter’s heart. That he was a man worth restoring and when Peter was at his lowest point in his misery; Jesus appeared to him, and those who had joined him on this fishing expedition, and everyone present would see how God restores His fallen creatures to a state of wholeness. This was a lesson none of them would ever forget. The Lord does not reject mankind because they fail; if they are willing to admit their failures, they will be restored. And we as modern day Christians should learn this same valuable lesson and assure those among us who have failed that God does not reject them because they failed; and if they will admit their failures, He will restore them to perfect wholeness just as He did for Peter. DThrash


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