This Easter Peter caught my attention. At the Last Supper when Jesus was washing the disciples’ feet, Peter spoke up and said, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” (John 13:9) Later at the meal Peter also said to Jesus, “I will lay down my life for You.” (John 13:36) These statements of Peter’s give us the impression that Peter was devoted to Jesus and desired to please Him.
Sadly, a few hours later Peter sinned against Jesus, the One he loved. Peter denied that he knew Jesus. Not once, but three times. How could he go on after such a sin?
After Jesus’ resurrection, we find that Peter went back to fishing – fishing for fish. Three years previously Jesus had called Peter to fish for men – to lead people to Jesus. I wonder if Peter thought that he was not worthy to serve God anymore because he had sinned. How is a person, a Christian in particular, able to serve God after sinning?
While Peter was fishing, Jesus was on the beach preparing food for His disciples. Jesus took Peter aside to talk with him. Here is where I started to see the answer to my question.
First, we see the mercy of God. Jesus cared for His disciples, even though they were doing futile work. They didn’t catch any fish until Jesus came. (John 21:1-11) Jesus took Peter aside which demonstrated that He cares personally for His own. Jesus will work with us to help us to change, to do right.
Second, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Love is the key to serving God any time, even after sinning. This love is more than nice feelings towards a person. It is a self-sacrificing love that follows the guidelines of I Corinthians 13. This love will enable us to serve others.
Lastly, Jesus said “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15). Jesus asked Peter to fish for men three years ago, but Peter went back to fishing for fish – his old way of doing things. There is no mention in Scripture from this point on of Peter doing any more fishing for fish. He made his decision, and God blessed him. You can read about how the Lord used Peter in Acts and in the two epistles that Peter wrote. God would love to use us as well, if we are willing to make a decision to leave our own way behind and to serve God instead.
Forgiveness of sin is possible because Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Because He rose from the dead, we can serve and keep on serving Him. Having a living and loving Saviour helps us to make a decision to follow God’s way. Jesus will help us, as He helped Peter.