He was restored
Letting someone down is not the best feeling in the world, especially if you had boasted how you wouldn’t let them down. But you did. Now to disappoint someone who loves you hurts, but to disappoint the One who laid down His life for you, that’s painful.
Peter’s life was one of ups and downs. After boasting that he would never leave Jesus, Peter watched from a distance as Jesus was led away. And as Jesus was being tried, Peter denied knowing him three times.
Three days after Jesus was crucified, the tomb was empty, and Peter was elated. But, in John 21, I can almost hear Peter saying to himself, “Oh, boy! Now I’m in trouble!”
I suspect he expected Jesus to say something like, “Peter, why did you deny me?” Jesus could have really stuck the knife of guilt in deep. But, he didn’t. Rather, his goal was to remove Peter’s guilt, to perform deep soul-surgery and effectively cut out the ache from Peter’s heart.
In vs. 15 we read, “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?’” Notice the name change here. Jesus doesn’t refer to Peter as Peter “the Rock,” simply as Simon. The title of Peter no longer fit.
A rock is strong and above all dependable, and Peter had been anything but, and Jesus wanted him to do some soul-searching.
Now, in Peter’s defense, it seems that he had learned humility and now realized that maybe he wasn’t as strong as he thought he was. He became honest about his spiritual condition. And this is most evident in his conversation with Jesus.
Of the four Greek words for love (eros – erotic, storge – family, phileo – brotherly, and agape – Godly), phileo and agape are used in the passage.
Here in the text, Jesus says, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” And he used “Agape.” Well, Peter responded in an honest fashion.
I like how the Darby Translation says it: “(Peter) says to him, ‘Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I am attached to thee.’” Peter answered with the word, “Phileo.” So to paraphrase the text, “Peter, do you love Me 100 percent?” “Lord, you know I like you.”
Jesus accepted where his commitment was at that moment, and in verse 17, asked a third time, “Peter, are you attached to me?” And Peter answered, “I am attached to you.”
Peter had been honest. Honesty about the strength and health of the relationship is important, but how often are we truly honest about our Spiritual relationship?
How many times have you asked someone how they’re doing, and their response is, “Just fine?” Now, they may be, but we’ve become a society where it’s not okay to share when our walk gets full of pot holes.
Three times Peter had failed, and 3 times he was restored; and done so in full view of all the others. Now they all knew that the Rock was back.
Now, a couple of points to remember: First, no matter how gross your past may be, Jesus stands not only ready to forgive, but also to restore.
Second, if we are going to be restored, then we must be honest about our Spiritual condition. Some reading this may not be “fine” in their faith.
Third, if you come to God saying, “I just don’t feel close to You,” be prepared to hear, “Well, I wasn’t the one who left!”
So let me ask you, “How is it with your soul?”