This past Sunday in our series “Q&A with Jesus” we looked at the passage where Jesus asks Peter if he loved him. You can find the audio and sermon notes here.
Who wouldn’t answer that question right, especially right to Jesus’ face? Yes, I love you. Sure do. “Then”, Jesus says, “here’s what I want you to do.”
For most that are familiar with the passage, we have taken a safe kind of liberty in our interpretations to read into the passage that Jesus may in fact be affirming his forgiveness towards Peter for the gaff on the eve of his crucifixion. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, just as Jesus warned. And here in John 21, Jesus asks Peter of his love followed by a ‘here’s what you do then’ three times. Whether this is an affirmation of forgiveness or a sense of “let’s deal with this and get on with it” either way, Jesus is saying to Peter, it’s time and I do in fact have something I need you to be a part of.
One of the applications that comes from this study is this: Is there something in your past that’s keeping you from accepting the forgiveness of Christ and moving forward with a life that centers on Him?
Jesus knows that Peter is forgiven. He’s never been about holding a grudge, he’s always about the present tense relationship. Consider even His name, “I AM”. Not, “I will be, as soon as you make up for your mess or prove to me that you’ll not drop the ball again”, but “I AM”.
Relationships take time. They take understanding and even effort. But mostly, they take grace. Jesus knew he’d have an amazing relationship with Peter, through the Holy Spirit, but Peter probably didn’t know that!
I wonder what Peter’s ministry in Acts would have looked like had Jesus not had this chat with him. I wonder how many of us need to have a similar chat with the Lord. He loves you, has completely forgiven you, and He needs you to accept His forgiveness, get over your past and move forward in the relationship that He came to establish.