“Lord, you know I love you.”
“Feed my sheep.”
Most of us are familiar with the scene on the seashore recorded in John 21. I think we make a lot of fuss over the word “love” in its various permutations because we have read a Greek dictionary and think we have suddenly become scholars with great insight. In reality there is considerable disagreement about what Jesus and Peter may or may not have intended.
However, most people agree that Jesus repeats the question three times because of Peter’s three denials. Peter had already repented in bitter tears and was surely forgiven, but this gave him the opportunity to make amends in another, more direct way.
Peter takes a lot of grief for his failings. I have heard many say, and have more than likely said myself, “Peter gives me hope. If the Lord will take him, surely he will take me.” Why do we think we are any better than Peter?
Is it any less a denial of the Lord as the master of my life when I fail to act as He would? Is it any less a denial when I fail to speak His word in an age of political correctness? Is it any less a denial when I fail to follow His example in forgiving my neighbor, my brother, my spouse, or simply the other driver or shopper or the waitress or store clerk? Is it any less a denial when my life matches the world instead of my Savior’s? I may stand up and confess His name on Sunday morning, but it’s how I live my life the rest of the week that truly tells the story, and neither the circumstances nor the provocation matter. All of my reactions to the circumstances of life and to other people are either a confession or a denial of Jesus as the Lord of my life.
How many times should the Lord ask me, “Do you love me?” How many second chances do I need? How many will I need just today?
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isa 53:5,6.