• Rusty Coram

2021_12_29 Insight Post- Rusty Coram

This week's reading- John 21

This week we wrap up John’s eyewitness account of Jesus’ life. Of all the stories to end this biography with, I love that John chose to focus on his friend Peter’s reconciliation with Jesus. As we covered earlier, not long before Jesus’ arrest, Peter made this bold declaration, Peter declared, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I will never desert you.” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” Matthew 26:33–34 (NLT)

That night Peter did exactly what Jesus said he would. From that point forward, Peter carried the guilt and shame of his failure. Knowing Jesus, we can rightly assume He forgave Peter, but Peter needed reassurance, and that is exactly what Jesus gave him: ” After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.” John 21:15–17 (NLT)

I want to point out two things here: First, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loves Him – one for each time Peter denied knowing Him. That is something Peter would never forget. Second, the translation I used simply says “love” each time, but Jesus started off using a special word for love, agape, which is the highest, self-sacrificing kind of love. However, when Peter responded he used a different word for love, phileo, which means deep affection. Peter’s humility is evident here by the fact that he won’t use agape. Notice also that Jesus’ first question includes a comparison to the other disciples, “do you love me more than these?” and a humbled Peter refuses to compare himself to them. This shows that Peter has learned his lesson from his earlier failure.

I love this. It is a great picture of how Jesus relates to us, and a reminder that failure never has to be final. If we will humbly come to God, and admit we’ve blown it, He is ready to restore us. Later in one of John’s letters to the church he says this, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 (NLT)

Rusty Coram

Senior Pastor