The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

April 20, 2013

INSTANT MESSAGE: Jesus Reinstates Peter

Palestine Herald-Press

— John 21: 12-17 (NIV): Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord.  Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.  This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," he said, "you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my lambs."  Again Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" He answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep."  The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

Jesus was facing a dilemma: he had told Peter that he would build the church on him in Matthew 16:19, but Peter had just denied that he even knew him. Not once, but three times. Jesus had less than 50 days until Pentecost and the man who would preach the sermon that would usher in the church age felt like a complete failure. Peter undoubtedly felt it was over for him. He had caved in the face of persecution and had denied that he even knew Jesus. How could he be the leader of the church now?

But Jesus will see through what he intends for us. He doesn't change his mind. Yes, there may be roadblocks and detours. Yes we fail in our efforts, but God doesn't. He intends to use us even though we are not perfect.

So, Jesus showed up and reminded Peter and his companions that he had risen from the dead and that he had power. Power to catch fish, power to catch men, and power to forgive when we fail. He asked Peter if he "agape" loved him and Peter answered "that he was his friend". This happened twice. The third time, Jesus asked if Peter was even his friend. Peter conceded that that was all he was.

If we will be honest with God and humble ourselves before him, he will use us in mighty ways we never thought possible.


Year one of Instant Message is now available for Kindle and Kindle apps. Go to Harris is the pastor at Brushy Creek and Mt. Vernon United Methodist churches.