Jesus Restores Peter

This post focuses on how Jesus restores Peter and through their dialogue we can learn how in similar fashion, Jesus can restore us despite our mistakes and setbacks.

Recently I’ve been reflecting on God’s love for me. I remember thinking, God I know you love me but what is my purpose how can I be fulfilled. The passage on Jesus dialogue with Peter came to mind.

We can find this in John 21 .

This conversation took place at Tiberius (lake Galilee), after Jesus had risen from the dead. In John 21: 15-19 we see Jesus ask Peter 3 times “Do you love me?”.

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He 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. 

John 21:15-17

For the first two questions, the word love used, in Hebrew is “agapas“, which is the greatest form of love and then Jesus uses the word “phileo” for the last question, which is a lesser form of love – one between friends.

Just as Peter had denied Jesus three times, Jesus now asked Peter to affirm his love three times. This made Peter sorrowful, especially the third time. With each reply thus far, Peter used the word phileo for love, he was saying to Jesus already that you know I love you like a brother. But the final time it was like Jesus was asking, Do you even (phileo) love me? Which Peter was already stating twice, making him feel sorrowful.

Jesus did not doubt Peter’s love. He knew that Peter loved him as though they were brothers. However, Jesus wanted Peter to affirm his love again – to help Peter feel confident as a true disciple of Christ. Also notice that with each answer Jesus was reinstating the tasks that he is to do – Feed my lambs, tend my sheep , feed my sheep. Love is not only a feeling but actions.

We too may love Jesus with all our heart yet be grieved that in some way you have let him down and we are not worthy anymore to continue abiding with him. But in the same way Jesus restored Peter he will do the same for us and forgive us of our mistake and allow us to continue our walk with Him.

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