John 21 v15-17
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
In the Kingdom of God there’s no real appointment before a surrendered heart.
Jesus does not delve into the details of Peter’s denial. “Why Peter? Why did you do it? “
But do you love me? (Agape) It is the highest form, of sacrificial commitment love. Do you agape me Peter? He cannot answer yes so he chooses a lesser word.
Yes I love you? (Phileo) It is a lesser love than agape but nevertheless still a great word, the love found in friendship.
Peter is saying “I can’t pretend anymore. I can’t give you this commitment love, I’m not good enough.” Anyone felt like Peter?
Do you love me? “No not agape Jesus, obviously, but Phileo.”
Jesus is restoring Peter. He will reinstate him and recover him.
Pause for a moment. In the endless conversations of what life will be like when we go back to a new norm. When the Church moves into a post-lockdown season, what will it look like? I’m praying and hoping the opportunity that we have been given during lockdown will mean less that the lockdown changes everything but that Christ will have changed us because of the surrendered heart of his Church. I’m praying and hoping the Church will emerge different not because of digital platforms etc. but that we have been marked with renewed love for Him and for others.
If the Church is going to emerge stronger, appointed for mission, advancing forward then it will be determined by its willingness to surrender right now.
The 3rd time Peter is questioned (isn’t it lovely that he is questioned the same amount of times he failed?) it is Jesus who changes the word.
Do you love (Phileo) me? It was this question that brings Peter to a complete end. Peter had already told Jesus he did Phileo him. But Jesus asks him.
Jesus was asking, “even if it’s a lesser love, a friendship love, would a friend do what you did?”
Do you really? Do you love me?
We need to be in the place even if it hurts where God has trapped us. Where he locks us down. No excuses, no justifications, all we can do is surrender. Jesus knows where all the fish are. We can’t pretend with him. We can’t deceive him. He knows our hearts.
“You know all things; you know that I love you.”
In that hurtful place of surrender Jesus does the work of re-installing Peter.
“Feed my lambs, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep.”
Jesus pointed Peter to the early church, to responsibility again, credibility, raising his status, lifting his head.
Peter is back. It is going to be great!
However, Jesus has more things to say, disturbing things …