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Understand today that in the service of Jesus, whatever goes wrong, you can always begin again.


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Bible passage John 21:15–19


Jesus Reinstates Peter
 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!”

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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Reflecting on the past
Can you put yourself in Peter’s shoes? I wonder if he enjoyed his breakfast? Did the smell of the charcoal fire evoke memories of the High Priest’s courtyard? Surely so.

Three times he had turned away from Jesus, three times Jesus drew him back. ‘Peter, do you love me? And is that love the main thing in your life?’ (v 15). Peter responds cautiously, hardly daring to trust himself. ‘Jesus, you can count on my love.’ And in response Jesus offers him a job: ‘Feed my sheep.’

A new job
Here is a carpenter inviting a fisherman to become a shepherd! He is to take care of those for whom Jesus died. Jesus’ revenge for our denial is to trust us more. Marvel at the upside down values of the kingdom of God and let the wonder of it invade your life today. In our brittle society, if we stumble there is no guarantee of a second chance. In God’s new society, failure is never final. You can always begin again.

And then the call: Follow me. It will not be easy. We expect wounds for we follow a wounded Lord, but he will be with us on the road. You will never walk alone.


Respond


‘Oh never let me wound again the love that set me free. Or ever crucify afresh the Christ who died for me.’

David Bracewell


Deeper Bible study


‘You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.’ (Psalm 139:1). Do you find this thought reassuring or threatening?

Peter had confidently said he would follow Jesus anywhere (John 13:36–38). Shortly after that he had denied three times that he ever knew him (John 18:15–27). This moving episode shows us how Jesus handles our well-meant but rash promises and the failures that so often follow them.

I can’t help wondering what had been going on in Peter’s mind ever since that fateful cock’s crow. He had rejoined the disciples. He had met the risen Christ. Was the memory of his failure still haunting him? Was he expecting Jesus to reproach him in some way and say, ‘How could you do that? What were you thinking of?’ or ‘I thought you believed in me. Where is your faith?’? When Peter met Jesus on the beach, did it bring back memories of that encounter three years previously when a miraculous catch first awakened him to who Jesus was (Luke 5:4–11)? Did the smell of the charcoal fire bring back the memory of the courtyard of the high priest? Jesus had said nothing about it in Jerusalem (John 20:19–29). Now that he is with Peter alone, he brings up the unspoken issue.

Jesus knows what is in us better than we know ourselves. We too have failed, either by denying our Lord or not speaking up about our faith in him when the opportunity arose. We have all plugged our ears at times when he was speaking to us. We have all disobeyed him. Maybe we have pushed these memories to the back of our minds. Or maybe we are all too aware of them. Either way, Jesus’ word to us is the same as it was to Peter. There is no recrimination, just one simple question: ‘Do you love me?’ (vs 15–17).

Annabel Robinson


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Audio


See what a morning (Resurrection hymn)
Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2003 Thankyou Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com

All for love
Mia Fieldes
Copyright © 2005 Mia Fieldes/Hillsong Publishing/kingswaysongs.com
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com


Comments
  • Stuart Robinson | Friday, 21 April 2017

    A former pastor of ours often used to say "Oh God of second chances and new beginnings, here I am again"

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 21 April 2017

    True love will produce service. Service does not produce true love.

  • Rosemary Fairweather | Friday, 21 April 2017

    How true Gilvin! Thank you Helen for taking us with you to the holy land and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I felt blessed and enriched to imagine it.

  • Thelma Edwards | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Yes GILVIN and for those us who find 'doing' easier than 'being', doing good works and serving does not make Jesus love us any more or any less. It is because of Jesus grace and His unconditional love for us that we serve. He loved us first before we loved Him. We can't earn His love - He already loves us.

  • Elizabeth Sadler | Friday, 21 April 2017

    What a wonderfully inspiring commentary by David Bracewell. Many thanks.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 21 April 2017

    GILVIN I understand the point you are making. However, I think service may sometimes expose you to the risen Christ, bring about salvation and then bear the fruit of love. The two examples I can think of, immediately, to support this are: the Victorian computer Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (music composer to hymn 'Sing we the King, who is coming to reign'. Not a Christian at the time of composing, he composed lots of church music and became a Christian during his career. Surely, his exposure to the gospel texts, through nominal (and paid) service, contributed to his salvation. The other example is Charles Wesley. Already an Anglican priest at the time of his conversion in Aldersgate St, London. His service (possibly merely moral and religious) began before his love bloomed.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 21 April 2017

    WL, please add an edit feature!!!! computer = composer.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Peter was annoyed that Jesus had asked him three times about him loving him but how would Jesus have felt about Peter denying him three times? Peter was the one who when Jesus asked "who do you say I am" replied with Jesus being the Christ, and that having been revealed by God to Peter. Yet frequently Peter was impulsive, proud and fearful. Jesus addresses his pride with his first question. "do you love me more than these" (v15). The key word being "more". Just as John refers to himself as the disciple Jesus loved there are power struggles and clambering for status within the disciples. We know later that Peter in his transformed character empowered and comforted by the Holy Spirt with perfect love casting out fear doesn't shy away from any threat to his own well being that an authority posies as he preaches the good new about Jesus. But for now, his hurt is something he must feel as a consequence of his denial. Sometimes the best and most loving we can be results in hurt for others and may be misunderstood as unChristian, blasphemous even. And yes indeed, thank Go literally that he is God of second chances, perfect love producing service and pare of that involving getting things wrong. God is more interested in the attitude of the heart and willingness to serve than getting things perfectly right all the time.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Oakley, surely it must be a false dichotomy to think of service or love? Surely love and service go together just as faith and action as indeed do peaches and cream? ;). If we are not kind then how can we be kind to others? If we are not active then how can we say we have a faith? Of course there are times through illness, bereavement disability etc when we are not able to be active or as active but if we are able to do good then surely the love of God must compel us to do so? And if we do good surely we must be blessed by God and experience his grace, his love. Right?

  • Hilary Dale | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Thanks, Stuart! My prayer today:"Oh God of second chances and new beginnings, here I am again" and "yes Lord, despite some of the evidence, I do love you. I will obey you, and will do what I can today for your sheep."

  • Helen Humby | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Thank you Rosemary. I really found the tour of Holy Land very profound and humbling. It was amazing to walk where Jesus walked and to be beside the sea of galilee where today's conversation took place. My response is to say thank you Lord for many second chances over the years and to reaffirm my love to Him and service to him.

  • Angela Munday | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Jesus know absolutely everything about us and loves us with a pure, understanding and faithful love that is never-ending. He rewarded Peter and rewards us too by trusting in us always. Such love..............

  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 21 April 2017

    ADAM, I disagree. There are many reasons for service. Love is one of them, but service can be fuelled by tradition, fear, wanting to fit in or, perhaps, stand out. It can also be a hobby. Our churches are full of musicians and singers (of all styles), flower arrangers, children's workers, coffee morning runners, craft group belongers who do not LOVE the Lord. They may believe in Him and admire Him, they may give many hours more service to the church than some saved believers, but they do not KNOW and LOVE him. We, who are honoured to have been called by name, have a duty to pray that their offerings will be made acceptable in God's sight by the transformation of their Spirit, not because of what they offer, but because God's Spirit is love.

  • Graham Fuller | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Adam, the text says Peter was hurt that Jesus asked him three times, not annoyed or is there something in the translation I have missed?

  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 21 April 2017

    ADAM, I disagree. There are many reasons for service. Love is one of them, but service can be fuelled by tradition, fear, wanting to fit in or, perhaps, stand out. It can also be a hobby. Our churches are full of musicians and singers (of all styles), flower arrangers, children's workers, coffee morning runners, craft group belongers who do not LOVE the Lord. They may believe in Him and admire Him, they may give many hours more service to the church than some saved believers, but they do not KNOW and LOVE him. We, who are honoured to have been called by name, have a duty to pray that their offerings will be made acceptable in God's sight by the transformation of their Spirit, not because of what they offer, but because God's Spirit is love.

  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Sorry. I appear to have repeated myself. I'll be quiet now because i am flying back from Spain to the UK in a few hours.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Safe trip OAKLEY. I was wondering if you were still in sunny Spain

  • Graham Fuller | Friday, 21 April 2017

    I'm not meaning to be critical Adam, it just seems to me to put a different slant on the passage using the word annoyed rather than hurt. I can understand Peter feeling hurt but certainly not annoyed.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Oakley - you are right to challenge my assumption about service being carried out in the love of God. What you say is true about motive for service and you rightly say that fear, tradition wanting to fit in or stand out and other impure motives (money, status, power etc) can all have a part to play. When you talk about being honoured by being called by name my though goes to my time in the Air force where there was honour in the motto of the apprentice squadron I joined in the Air Force (Non Plerique Delicaturi) meaning "Few are Chosen", There have been key moments with the image of an acorn that has come up in my walk with Christ. On one time someone coming to me in a Charismatic church saying she had an image of an acorn for me, that she didn't know what I meant and talked words of encouragement to me. The acorn was the emblem of the Apprentice Squadron, we know scripture talking of enduring hardship as God's discipline, all discipline being painful at the time, this producing righteousness and peace and what scripture talks elsewhere of being "righteous oaks". Praise God for his power in transformation.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Graham, I deliberately used the word annoyed to see if anyone was awake. I am cheeky like that ;). As you will see I did mention Peter's hurt was as a consequence of his denial. Do you deny that Jesus can be annoying,shocking even sometimes sometimes? Were you annoyed by my comment?

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Grahame, grieved, distressed, hurt, saddened are all ways Peter'sfeeling have been described in different translations. When has grief not come with annoyance if not anger? Do not psychologists say that in a grieving process there is anger too before acceptance? The truth is none of will know how Peter felt exactly other than it was unpleasant. I don't think it is beyond reason for Peter to have felt annoyed as I have heart it being interpreted on occasion of him being so. On the other hand I hear that you can't understand him being so. But then perhaps your idea of Jesus is of him being more nice than my idea of him is. I seem to remember him saying one or tow shocking things from time to time, offensive even.

  • Elizabeth Watts | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Service or love? Chicken or egg? Which comes first? At the end of a long conversation about salvation, a lady said to me, "You lead a good life out of love, I lead a good life out of fear. " May love be our motivation for service

  • Derek Forster | Friday, 21 April 2017

    And can it be that I should gain An int’rest in the Savior’s blood? Died He for me, who caused His pain? For me, who Him to death pursued? Amazing love! how can it be That You, my God should die for me? No condemnation now I dread: Jesus, and all in Him, is mine! Alive in Him, my living Head, And clothed in righteousness divine, Bold I approach th’eternal throne, And claim the crown, through Christ my own. Amazing love! how can it be That You, my God, should die for me!

  • Jim Pye | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Not wanting to take anything away from this lovely devotional but in the Greek different words for "love" are used that do not come out in this translation. The Living Bible reflects this. 15 After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?” “Yes,” Peter replied, “you know I am your friend.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon, son of John, do you really love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I am your friend.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 Once more he asked him, “Simon, son of John, are you even my friend?” Peter was grieved at the way Jesus asked the question this third time. “Lord, you know my heart; you know I am,” he said. Jesus said, “Then feed my little sheep. Jesus asks Simon Peter the first two times if Simon "agapes" him. Peter replies that he "philos" him. The third time Jesus asks Simon if he philos him and Peter says he philos him. It was this that hurt Simon Peter. As you will know Agape is pure, selfless love. Philos is an affection or friendship. In using these word Jesus exposes Simon Peter's inadequacy, comes down to his level and restores and commissions him. Hope this helps. Thanks to the lovely David Field at Oak Hill College for teaching this a long time ago!

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Yes JIM I thought about commenting on that earlier but wouldn't have done it as good as you have done

  • Philippa Linton | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Jim - thank you! I too have heard this: it's a great insight. Graham, I agree with you about questioning 'annoyed'. After all, 'hurt, grieved, distressed' are much stronger emotions than 'annoyed', and 'hurt' is what the text says. Annoyed is what I feel when I miss a train - it seems to me a far lesser emotion than the emotions Peter felt during this significant exchange with Jesus, as Jesus gently yet insistently confronts Peter with the pain of his previous denial - and then restores and affirms him.

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 21 April 2017

    He knows our every weakness and He gives us permission to fail. OAKLEY is straight to the point there are many good and lovely people in the Church who do jobs for the Church and when they have a dispute, or aren't thanked, or just get fed up give it up and we recognise they view the work as a job. Commitment to Jesus and love of Him and what he has done for us is service, and is done whatever the weather, however painful and difficult, whether or not we are seen, commitment is costly, it cost Jesus His life. Teach us Good Lord to serve Thee as Thou deservest, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of doing Thy will. https://youtu.be/rZCbQFTswrs

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Save that of knowing that we do Thy will.

  • Kenneth Williams | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Father God, Dear Jesus..... I love you and want to follow you. Thanks for your Grace and mercy. Strengthen my faith, Lord.

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Move, Holy Spirit, move in my life, Move Holy Spirit and make me like Christ. Move, move, move in my life, Move, move, and make me like Christ.

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Barbara to what extent d you think when people give up or get fed up in church do you think that it is because they are wrongly motivated as individuals. And to what extent do you think the church institution is inappropriate in creating environments and burdens to the point that an individual is becoming burnt out and would be better in their walk with Christ by distancing themselves form the institution, at least for a period of time?

  • Graham Fuller | Friday, 21 April 2017

    On reflection your use of the word annoyed did provoke a response from me but I was not annoyed just thinking that if the gospel writer had used that word the passage would have seemed so different :-)

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    See, I have my uses. Even if it is just to be cheeky an provoke a response ;-). Nice to chat with you. :-)

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Adam I do believe people give up and get fed up because possibly they are not discipled. At my Church at present there are no weekly Bible Study or prayer meetings. Christians need daily bread and prayer and discipling ,Jesus Disciples followed in Jesus' footsteps for 3 years

  • Lynda Spencer | Friday, 21 April 2017

    I have often felt puzzled by Jesus' question to Peter - "Do you love me more than these?" I didn't think it could mean 'more than these other disciples' because, surely, the Lord doesn't compare us with other believers but only to His perfect self. I have been wondering if it means, "Do you love Me more than all these things with which you fill your life?" - fishing etc. Or am I looking for something never intended? Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

  • Adam Julians | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Barabara that's an interesting point in the light of "the great commission" and making disciples. What you say is also true for the church I go to. On the other hand for me it often times is what happened at prayer meetings and bible studies that put me off going to church. What you say makes sense to me though disciplining requires investment in people and indeed the best was with being with Jesus for 3 years. I wonder to what degree churches are willing to make that kind of investment. I have been in churches that are more passionate about other things than Christ. I always found that odd. I never found a motorcycle club more passionate about other things than motorcycles or a comedy club more passionate about other things than comedy.

  • Hannah Watson | Friday, 21 April 2017

    Lynda what an interesting thought. I can't say for sure which way of interpreting the words is correct, but I am glad you interpreted it that way

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 21 April 2017

    ADAM my Dad always said if we are Christians we have to live in accordance with the Book. He said that football club supporters went to all the matches and were passionate about the game. So Christians should be passionate about Jesus and want to know Him better. I have been used to two Meetings on Sundays, Bible Study each week prayer meetings before Meetings .Discipling Classes, we did nothing without we prayed first. I got the best spiritual teaching. I have found that fund raising, Church building maintenance seems to be more important than Mission where I am at present. To be like Jesus this hope possesses me, in every thought and deed, this is my aim my creed to be like Jesus, His Spirit helping me, like Him i'll be.

  • Barbara Sabin | Friday, 21 April 2017

    ADAM your earlier question has one answer, to boil water in a kettle it must be plugged into the electricity to the power, to be a Christian it is necessary to be connected to the Lord by worshipping, praying, and sharing with like minded people. Have a daily reading plan, find yourself a mentor who is a mature Christian. Unlock your day with the key of prayer and bolt the door at night with prayer. Connect to the power. Find a Church where you are made welcome where people care about each other where there is agape love. Have you tried a Pentecostal Church? I am a Salvationist and I expected my local Church to be similar but it is completely different . At the S Army if you miss a Sunday Meeting someone will ring you and ask if you are ill you will be mentored you will be visited in your own home. I could go on but you have to find the spiritual home where you can be welcomed for being a Christian brother, where you will be loved and where you can grow in the Spirit and be fulfilled.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 22 April 2017

    A simple question was asked many years ago by Colin Urquart when I was attending a 'lifeless' church. "Why do you continue attending a church where you receive no encouragement". So I put that to BARBARA and anyone else in similar situation. I made an effort at that time and went to a Spirit led church That at the time was 4 miles from my home

  • Adam Julians | Saturday, 22 April 2017

    Barbara yes absolutely - football fans are passionate about the game and Christians should be passionate about Jesus. And a kettle to boil water needs to be connected to power. Those who are arrogant with a form of godliness but lacking power are to be avoided and this is one reason why for some avoiding or distancing particular church gatherings has been necessary for their walk in Christ.

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