In the last few post we have been looking at the encounter between Jesus and Peter after Peter denied Jesus three times. We talked about his intentions were not to deny Christ but he did anyway and how we are like this – we think others should be impressed with our intentions. We looked at being sorry and about what it really means to backslid. We are going to continue today by looking at Christ calling us and questioning us. We saw the excitement in Peter when Christ came to visit him. We are gaining all this by looking at John 21 – click here to read it. We will now finish up on this encounter by really looking closely at the interaction between Christ and Peter.
Something else for us to learn in all this is that: we must serve Christ with our talents, even though He could perform our task without us. The Lord obviously created the fish in the net by a miracle. There were 153 large fish in the net when previously there were none. When the disciples got to shore, they found a charcoal fire with fish cooking for their breakfast. Jesus told them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught". Jesus had them add their fish to the ones already on the fire. Christ could have provided enough fish on their fire so the disciples did not need to add theirs. Jesus could have waited to eat their fish without providing His on the fire. Why fish from two sources? Perhaps the answer is in the law of the division of labor. God will do His part to assist us in serving Him, but we must properly use our talents in service. All too often we believe that Jesus should just do everything for us – we do not think that we need to do our part when we serve Him. We need to be serving Christ with faith be active. Let us be reminded of what Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:1 – And working together with Him. Paul is saying what Jesus showed us – it is about serving with Christ. It is not about serving and doing what we want and not about having Christ serve us but it is all about doing it together. Christ could do it all but His desire is to have us involved! Do you have the faith to step out and allow Christ to work with you?
Then we need to consider this when we have an encounter with Christ, we must honestly express our love to Christ. Jesus knew Peter’s heart when He asked Peter, "Do you love me?" The Lord when saying this used the deepest word for love, a word that meant sacrificial love. The Lord wanted to see how honest Peter would answer because the Lord knows the truth and knows how we really think and feel. To the surprise of many, when Peter answered, he did so with a shallow word and not a word of his deep love. In essence the Greek gives the idea that Peter responded to Jesus by saying something like: "I like you a lot." There are many of us who like to tell people how devoted we are to Christ but I see it as we must be like Peter because Peter’s response was honest. Just think, Jesus is asking Him if he loved and three times Peter responded, "I like you a lot." While we might wish that Peter would have used the deeper word, at least we know he was honest. How honest are you with Jesus? How honest are with others about your love for Christ. Sadly, many will not be honest about their feelings. I challenge you to honestly look at how you really feel about Christ. What is the truth? What is your relationship really like with Him?
Here is the point of an encounter with Christ and restoration: we can only be restored to service after we honestly submit to Jesus Christ. The Lord asked Peter, "Do you love Me?" When Christ got the right answer, He told Peter, "Feed my lambs." I see and believe this was Peter’s restoration to his former place of leading the disciples and then to go on and lead the church. He had his area of failure or backsliding but honestly submitted himself to Christ and that is what leads Peter to be able to be to be completely restored, His repentance and turning himself over to be used by Christ. Because of his restoration, Peter was able to preach the powerful sermon on the day of Pentecost. God restored him after his backsliding.
What do you think about this interaction between the two? How do you think Peter felt after this interaction?