Today’s Scripture: John 20:19-26; 21:1-18
Have you ever had a falling out with a friend, and then they happened to show up at an event you were attending? It’s a bit awkward to know what to say or how to act when that happens. Sometimes it’s tempting to go out of our way to avoid them, isn’t it?
Imagine how Peter felt the first time Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection. What do you say to a good friend you denied even knowing? Two times the Lord showed up in the presence of the disciples, but neither time did He mention that evening in the courtyard when Peter vowed he had ever met Him. Maybe Peter assumed everything was fine and the matter was closed. However, Jesus had something else in mind.
The third time Jesus met up with the disciples, it almost seemed like He intentionally created a sense of déjà vu. First, the disciples were fishing, which is what some of them had been doing when Jesus first called them (see Matt. 4:18-20). Second, He instructed them how to catch more fish, just as He had done when they first met (see Luke 5:1-11). Third, Jesus built a fire. Peter’s infamous denial of Christ had happened at a fire in the courtyard.
When they finished eating, Jesus turned to Peter and began to address the topic that had been avoided. Three times He questioned him about his love—to compensate for the three times Peter denied the Lord. Jesus’ choice of words is significant:
#1 – Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly love me . . .? [Do you choose to embrace My will so I can live My life through you]?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know I love you [You know we’re good friends]
#2 – Jesus: Simon, son of John, do you love me enough to choose to embrace my will so I can live My life through you?
Peter: Yes, Lord, you know we’re good friends.
#3 – Jesus: Simon son of John, are we good friends?
Peter was grieved when Jesus changed his terminology. No matter. The Rabbi restored him by extending the same invitation He had given more than three years before—“Follow Me!”
That awkward conversation became pivotal for Peter, because he never again mentioned how he had denied Christ. Instead, he willingly moved into a place of leadership and, years later, was crucified upside down for his faith. He died for the sake of the very One he had once denied.
- How has the Lord restored you? Do you have any awkward situations that need to be dealt with and settled?