Bible Reading: John 21:15-19
“He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep”. (John 21:17)
For Peter to be asked three times, “Do you love me?” was a painful experience because Peter consciously knew he denied Jesus three times. Peter would have winced every time he said, “yes, Lord”, because he knew that his actions did not match up with what was within his heart. Yet, from this encounter, we can learn Christ’s loving heart, who lifts up those who have fallen to love Him and serve Him again.
Deep down in our hearts, we wish that we can say, “I love you, Lord”. However, we are often negligent to say it because we know that if we did, we would be a hypocrite. Our lives don’t match up to what we think of ourselves. We call ourselves followers of Christ yet, we often find ourselves stuck in sin day after day.
However, we should not be discouraged by our little faith because God does not view us because of our efforts. We are never good enough for God’s standards and never will be. If we were, God would not have to come to earth. In Christ, we are adopted as God’s children. God loves us as His children. He chose us before the creation of the world. We don’t need to win approval for God’s love because He freely gives it. No matter how small our faith or apparent love to God may seem, God has not and will not abandon us.
In fact, it is through those who are lowly and humble and willing to learn that God exemplifies His glory and works wonders for His kingdom. Peter denied God three times. He deliberately chose himself over God and outright rejected God. He knew he was done for the rest of his life. However, Christ made Peter the father of the church. God restored him and gave him a mission field. Peter was the first to preach after Jesus ascended into heaven. God’s Spirit dwelt and worked in him greatly.
Even when we fall and it seems like we have failed God, don’t lose heart but turn to Him again in repentance. He is waiting for us to repent and to obey Him. He is waiting for us to trust Him in every step. As God lifted Peter up again and confirmed his faith, God is waiting to lift us up again for His work when we humble ourselves before Him.
May this puritan prayer taken from The Valley Of Vision be our prayer:
Give me to love thee, to embrace thee,
though I once took lust and sin in my arms.
Thou didst love me before I loved thee,
an enemy, a sinner, a loathsome worm.
Thou didst own me when I disclaimed myself;
Thou dost love me as a son,
and weep over me as over Jerusalem.
Love brought thee from heaven to earth,
from earth to the cross,
from the cross to the grave.
Love caused thee to be
weary, hungry, tempted,
buffeted, spat upon,
crucified, and pierced.
Love led thee to bow thy head in death.
My salvation is the point where
perfect created love
and the most perfect uncreated love
for thou dost welcome me,
not like Joseph and his brothers,
loving and sorrowing, but loving and rejoicing.
This love is not intermittent, cold, changeable;
it does not cease or abate for all my enmity.
Holiness is a spark from thy love
kindled to a flame in my heart by thy Spirit,
and so it ever turns to the place
from which it comes.
Let me see thy love everywhere,
not only in the cross,
but in the fellowship of believers
and in the world around me.
When I feel the warmth of the sun
may I praise thee who art the Sun of righteousness
with healing power.
When I feel the tender rain
may I think of the gospel showers
that water my soul.
When I walk by the river side
may I praise thee for that stream that makes
the eternal city glad, and washes white my robes
that I may have the right to the tree of life.
Thy infinite love is a mystery of mysteries,
and my eternal rest lies
in the eternal enjoyment of it.