Focal passage: John 18:15-18, 25-27; 21:15-19
If Peter slept at all after Jesus was crucified, he must have woken to find a burden of grief so heavy that he could scarcely rise. I can’t imagine how tight the knot in his throat must have felt knowing that he had denied his Lord. What guilt must have flooded his conscience when that rooster crowed on Thursday night?
As horrible as the moments of denial must have been for Peter, there was a greater joy when Jesus forgave Peter.
In the presence of the 11 other disciples, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him more than “these.” Peter exclaimed his love for Jesus to which Jesus charged him, “Feed my lambs.”
Jesus repeated His question a second time, and Peter responded once again in the affirmative. Jesus said, “Tend my sheep.” A final time Jesus asked Peter the same question. Peter once again pled his love for his Lord and Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.”
Three times Peter denied Jesus and three times Peter declared his love for Jesus. It was through his actions that Peter denied Jesus, and it was through his actions that he showed his love for Jesus. By receiving Jesus’ forgiveness, Peter was restored.
We all need a fresh start in life at times. There will be moments in life when we will realize that we haven’t acted like disciples and we can only be restored by confessing our sins and letting Jesus wash them away (1 John 1:9).
One day when I was a sophomore in college I sat all alone in an empty apartment in Charleston, S.C. Several years earlier I had surrendered my life to ministry and even preached while I was in high school, but in college I made choices that took me far from God.
I desperately wanted to get back on the tracks that I had been traveling on before my massive derailment. I concluded that God was done with me. I even wondered if I had ever been saved. However, I came to a striking realization – although through my actions I had denied Jesus, Jesus hadn’t denied me. It was through this experience that God reaffirmed his grace and his calling on my life. Even “if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).