Johnson Chiu, Pastor, Dr., Faith Walk Community Church, San Ramon
Asian Director, The Leadership Connection, Concord
Coordinator, Equipping Resource Center, ISAAC, Castro Valley
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
19 Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
(John 21:15-17, 19b,21-22, NIV)
Those closest to us have the greatest opportunity to wound us. It certainly was true for Jesus. Peter, the most dedicated of disciples, betrayed Jesus three times at his greatest moment of need — at it hurt Jesus deeply. This first encounter after Peter’s denials is filled with tension and shame; Peter needs more than forgiveness; he needs restoration. Jesus’ goal is not to punish; he has already forgiven Peter but how can he be restored? After cooking and serving the disciples a meal, reminiscent of the miracle with fish and loaves and their last meal together, Jesus asks Peter a seemingly simple question, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Three times the question is put to Simon, the name of Peter before he met Jesus. Peter is taken aback by Jesus’ straightforward question. His heart and commitment is challenged. His denials are still so fresh, he has no defense. He wants to say yes but does not want his words to ring hollow. Jesus has every right to walk away yet this is not the Jesus we know. Each time Jesus requests, “Feed my sheep.” Peter, if you love me, you will love those whom I love. These words ring with a tone of invitation rather than a command. “Anything Lord,” yearns Peter. Jesus then invites Peter, “Follow me.” Don’t worry about anything or anyone else. Peter’s denials and desertion, running away from Jesus got him into trouble. His restoration will come by repenting, turning around and running toward Jesus! He willingly follows and is restored. The gracious heart of God invites you to run to him, follow him, even if you have run so many times away from Jesus, to find your restoration.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior