“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you,
Lord, know it completely.”
Psalm 139:1-4 (NIV)
“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.’”
John 21:17 (NIV)
Peter denied his Saviour three times the night of the betrayal. So after the resurrection Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Jesus’ resurrection appearances prior to this one show Peter having been present three times (Luke 24:34; John 20:19-25; John 20:26-31).
We know nothing of what was discussed by the Lord to Peter when Jesus visited Peter alone the day of the resurrection (Luke 24:34). We marvel at how gracious our Lord was to His humiliated disciple to meet with him one on one. Peter’s denial was public but the restoration was private. Can you stay away from the One you have offended when He shows such love and mercy? If you need restoration He patiently waits for you to return to the One Who died and rose again for you.
I believe that it is so often the case that He is more willing to embrace you than you are to turn once more to Him. Do not forget that He knows all that is in your heart. He who formed you in your mother’s womb understands your frail nature.
“for he knows how we are formed
he remembers that we are dust.”
Psalm 103:14 (NIV)
There is such a ring of authenticity to Peter’s comment to His Master when he said, “Lord you know everything, you know I love you.” It was not the degree of Peter’s love but the fact he had any love for the Master. The pain Peter felt when Jesus asked him the third time about his love makes it clear the disciple truly loved the Good Shepherd.
Each time Peter confessed his love for Jesus, the Saviour commissioned him to tend His sheep. So, while Peter had fallen dreadfully by doing what he had so vigorously pledged he would never do (John 13:37), Jesus restored him to a ministry as a shepherd of His flock.
What more encouragement do you need to return to the One who loves you and gave Himself for you? Listen to His beautiful invitation:
“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Come and come now.