There’s so much heartache in this text. So much heartache, and so much grace. Give it a read through in John 21:15-25. You can see it in the fire reflected in Peter’s eyes. Peter stood on the bank of the Sea of Galilee. I imagine that if you looked at him, you could see in his eyes that he was a million miles away- staring into a different fire on a different day- the fire where he had denied Jesus three times. There was so much heartache in Peter, and the way he had abandoned his Savior.
Jesus knew this. He pressed into the heartache. Just like Peter had denied him 3 times, he asked Peter three times: “Do you love me?” And Peter said: “You know I love you.” And three times, Jesus commissioned Peter- “Feed my sheep.”
Three times Jesus really was telling Peter- I know what you did, and I forgive you. Now come in with me to the mission closest to my heart.
There’s so much heartache here, and so much grace. No matter WHAT it is, Jesus’ forgiveness and commissioning of Peter shows us that you are forgiven, and you are given life and purpose. This is for you. This is the fire of the risen Christ.
15 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.” 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you 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. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 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.” 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.