“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.’” John 21:15
Suggested Reading: John 21:15-19
Have you ever felt like you’ve failed God? Unfortunately, we all fail God with our sin everyday. Romans 3:23 tells us “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Can you think of a situation of personal failure and sin that left you guilt-laden and broken? One of Jesus’ best friends, the apostle Peter, failed the Lord in a big way.
During Jesus arrest and imprisonment, Peter was confronted by some servants of the officials that arrested Jesus. Peter vehemently denied his association with Jesus (John 18:15-18, 25-27), not one time, but three times and fled from Him. The very man who stood by and watched Jesus heal the sick, give sight to the blind and raise the dead did not have the faith to stand firm when Jesus needed him the most. Peter heard the rooster crow following his third denial and left weeping bitterly. (Matthew 26:75) He was broken, he had sworn that he would never disown or desert Him (Matthew 26:31-35), but Peter failed Jesus.
By this point in the story as told in John 21, Jesus had appeared to his disciples twice, however, Peter and some of the disciples seemed to have returned to their old job of fishing. Peter and the other disciples were undoubtedly very confused and guilty over how they deserted Jesus. Frustrated with a fruitless all-night fishing trip the men looked to head to shore. They heard a familiar voice calling to them from shore. It was Jesus, and he told them try their nets on the other side of the boat! After hauling in a record-breaking catch they head to shore to see their Rabbi.
Jesus addresses Peter in a very unique way. He asks Peter if he loves Him, not once, but three times. Following Peter’s responses Jesus responds three times with, “Feed my sheep”. Jesus gives Peter the chance to re-affirm his love and commitment to Him as well as His ministry. Jesus picked Peter back up and restored him to be bold spokesman for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the father of His church. The first words of the risen Jesus said to His disciples, as recorded in John 20:19, was “peace be with you!”. The appearances that Jesus made to his followers after his resurrection were not to judge his followers, but rather to bring peace, forgiveness and restoration.
Henry Blackaby writes,
“Jesus will find you in despair and bring you peace. Then, He will reorient you to Himself so that you can believe Him and follow Him. Don’t give up if you have failed your Lord. Remember what happened to Peter. God has not yet finished developing you as a disciple.”
Are you struggling with a situation where you failed Jesus? Do you feel like a broken vessel, unable to be a worthy disciple? Allow Jesus to bring you that people, know your sins are forgiven when you confess them, and let Him give you a new direction.