After reflecting yesterday a bit on Peter's denials of our Lord, and on our denials, as well, today we take a look at Peter's reinstatement by our Lord. It ends up being a matter of love.
Of course Jesus, while telling Peter he'd deny him, also told him that when he turns in repentance, he is to strengthen his brothers. Peter had to remember those words. Then after Jesus' resurrection, the angels tell the witnesses at the empty tomb to go and tell the disciples "and Peter." Peter is explicitly mentioned, so that Peter gets the message that he indeed is included.
We come to the account in John, on the sea shore, where our Lord tells the disciples where to get the fish, as he prepares for a good fish "fry" on the beach. That had to bring back a vivid memory, to Peter. After they eat our Lord speaks to Peter. "Do you love me?" Although both agape, and phileo are used, most scholars today see them as interchangeable, as indeed they are, it seems, when reflecting on the Greek New Testament. So Jesus asks Peter three times if Peter loves him. And Peter each time says, he does, appealing in the end to Jesus' knowledge of him.
So as Peter denied Jesus three times, so Jesus asks him three times if he loves him. This breaks Peter's heart. Jesus tells Peter in the midst of this, to feed and take care of his sheep. Then he tells Peter how Peter will die, to glorify God.
At the heart of God's work for us in Christ, and our receiving of that gift is love. A love that hits us powerfully, initially. A love that works with us, in spite of us. A love which won't let us go, even when we do go astray. And a love that brings us back into God's arms in Christ. And gives us work to do, a task to finish, and the reason to live.
I'm glad for this unrelenting love, in my own life.
What might you like to add to these thoughts?