After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?"
"Yes," Peter replied, "You know I am your friend."
"Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: "Simon, son of John, do you really love me?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I am your friend."
"Then tale care of my sheep," Jesus said.
Once more he asked him, "Simon, son of John, are you even my friend?"
Peter was grieved at the way, Jesus asked the question this third time. "Lord, you know my heart; you know I am," he said.
Jesus said, "Then feed my little sheep."
John 21:15-17 (TLB)
But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you are talking about." And as he said the words, a rooster crowed.
Luke 22:60 (TLB)
Every day as Cole Beckloff, from South Dakota, climbs out of bed, he is troubled with thoughts like these: Remember when you insulted that person? Remember when you skipped your devotional time? Can't you just try to do something right today? This spiritual battle rages across my mind most days.
But Cole takes courage from the story of Jesus appearing to his disciples after his resurrection. He had breakfast with them after a miraculous catch of fish, and after breakfast, Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved him. Jesus used the repetition to remind Peter of the night when he denied Jesus three times. However, Jesus wasn't condemning or shaming Peter. He was telling Peter, "Listen, I forgive you! Now go and tell others of my love."
Peter thought he had failed miserably, but this wasn't the end for him. Bu accepting Jesus' unending forgiveness, he was able to reach thousands with the same grace that had turned his life around.
Cole still struggles with keeping his mind fixed on the Lord's redeeming love. Too often he is tempted to focus on his needs and wants instead of on the work of Christ. But God constantly lifts him up from his failures to shape him into a more faithful Christ-follower.
Prayer: Loving Father, thank you for your forgiveness and for helping us to live the way of Christ. We pray in His Holy name. Amen.