15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17)
This Lent, I am reminded by Simon Peter’s confidence and boldness in declaring his love for Jesus. On the night Jesus was betrayed and arrested, Jesus prophesied that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crows. Peter was confident and responded, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” However, when Jesus was being crucified, we see the prophecy come true. Peter denied Jesus threefold, and when Jesus had looked at him and he came to realise what he had done, he wept bitterly.
In this passage, we see the event after Jesus was crucified and had risen from the dead. Jesus was having a conversation with Peter at Tiberius, where Jesus affirmed Peter three times with the same question, “Do you love me?”, reminding Peter of his threefold denials. We see Peter affirmed Jesus with, “Yes Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus responded three times to Peter’s affirmation with a call to action: “feed my lambs... tend my sheep... feed my sheep.” However, by the third time, we see Peter felt grieved because it reminded him of his denial.
As we reflect this Lent, let us come to acknowledge our wrongdoings and short fallings before God. When our hands and feet fail Jesus, our response is not to run away from God or hide our sins or turn to idols. Instead, we are to run toward Jesus, and we are to shine light to where darkness hides.
More importantly, we are to have a remorseful and repentant heart like Peter. We are to be reminded of the personhood of Christ and to trust in Jesus’ work in us so that we can come to him to receive forgiveness, to be renewed in our love and to have our faith strengthened. Let us not be overconfident and boastful in our own abilities; rather acknowledge our brokenness as sinners and our unworthiness before the Lord and depend fully on God in every aspect of our lives – so that we can serve God not transactionally like a genie granting wishes. Instead, we can serve God with love and thankfulness that is deep rooted in his amazing grace displayed at the finished work at calvary.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for loving us that you would send your beloved son, Jesus to atone for the sins of humanity so that those who believed in Him, will inherit the Kingdom of God.
We pray that, as we reflect on Lent leading up to Easter, that you give us the heart of repentance and worship, that you have us affirm our love for you, not as means to pay you back what we owe but to show gratefulness and love for what Jesus did on the cross for us all, to give all the glory to Christ, because none is righteous, and none can be made holy without you.
We pray for those discouraged to carry their cross, and for those being led astray, that you give them strength and affirmation, and remind them who you are and of their identity in Christ, just like how Jesus reminded Peter of his denial and had him affirm his love for him once again.
We pray that you forgive us for our sins, that you strengthen our faith to love you more and more each day.
In Jesus’ most precious name we pray, Amen.
SUGGESTED FAST: RADIO, PODCASTS AND MUSIC This week, consider trading your favourite podcast or your daily dose of music or talk radio for silence and solitude. Instead of turning on something when you get in the car, use this time to ask God to fill your heart and mind with His presence and to hear His voice more clearly. Consider choosing a few verses to memorise and use the time you’d normally spend listening to music, the radio or a podcast in thoughtful meditation of God’s Word.