A Reminder Of The Past
Jesus is not done with Peter. He never gives up on him. Just like He never gives up on us.
Have you ever noticed how God will remind us of things? Maybe it is to call someone that He’s placed on your heart. Maybe it is to surrender something that you are holding onto and placing in your life as more important than God. Maybe it was simply a time when He encouraged you. Whatever it was, I love how God is always reaching out to us. (Deuteronomy 31:6; John 15:9).
In our passage, Jesus is reminding Peter of some things. Let’s take a look. First, Jesus tells Peter and his companions to throw their nets back into the water to catch some fish. This has happened to Peter before (Luke 5:1-8). Immediately, Peter recognizes that it is Jesus. And, in typical Peter fashion, he dives into the water, leaving the boat, and swims for shore. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m Peter I’m thinking to myself, “Wow. The last time I saw Jesus I denied Him three times.”
The second reminder is once Peter’s companions return to the shore. There’s a fire. This is reminiscent of Peter’s denial (Luke 22:55). Another reminder is when Jesus breaks bread and gives it to them, which was common for Jesus to do with His disciples.
Once Jesus is fully convinced Peter has been reminded, He brings Peter in close to ask him a deeply personal question – Do you love me? Further examination of the conversation in the original language may help us to understand why Jesus asks him the seemingly same question three times. In the original language the first two times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him it may have sounded like, “Do you love me unconditionally?” to which Peter replied, “Yes, I love you like a brother.” Finally, the third time Jesus asks, “Do you love me like a brother?” It says that Peter was hurt. We don’t know why. Could it have been that Peter was frustrated that Jesus asked him this question three times? Could it be that Jesus relented in asking if Peter loved Him like a brother? Or could it have been that Peter was still agonizing in the shame that came from his previous denial of Jesus? No matter what the reason – these or something else – Jesus is not done with Peter. He never gives up on him. Just like He never gives up on us. He continues with Peter. You see, Jesus didn’t just ask Peter if he loved Him (relationship), He encourages Peter to feed His sheep (responsibility). Jesus assured Peter that their relationship was still intact even after the denial. And, since their relationship was intact, there was responsibility. Inherit in every relationship is responsibility. Jesus loves and restores Peter regardless of what had happened.
Is God reminding you of something in your life now? Maybe it’s an encouragement of love, a conviction to surrender something to Him, or a call to reach out to someone. Whatever it is, respond faithfully. God loves you.