“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”John 21:15-17
I have written a devotional about how I covered up the stickers on my truck because they read, “Awana, Christ for Boys and Girls.” I was ashamed of my God at my public school and was a sellout – something I despised in others in my teen years. I was a someone who did not stay true, even though I prided myself in being true to the end. I would never leave my friends in a fight, and I would not dare sell them out if questioned. I faced interrogations in the school office where they wanted me to sing like a canary, but I held true and either took the rap or was released due to a lack of evidence. I pleaded with a man who was going to take out my friend because I knew he was fixing to put a whooping on us due to my friend stirring up the hornet’s nest. I would not dare be caught betraying my friends, but yet here I was betraying a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
How shameful it is for me to think back on this occurrence with me covering these stickers because my God was never ashamed of me. God knew I would betray Him due to the fear of man, and He knew that it would not be the only time I would do so. We sometimes look at Peter with disgust because he betrayed the One who taught Him the scriptures and the One who chose him out of the multitudes. Peter left his profitable profession and spent the next three years following Jesus. He became ashamed to be identified with Him and denied his Lord three times, just as Jesus told him he would. It grieved him to hear the cock crow, and I cannot imagine how he must have felt. He knew Jesus already knew of his betrayal, and I am sure he thought there was no coming back from it. I know my friends would not have been my friends if I was disloyal or I failed to show up when it mattered, but Peter was dealing with a Friend who is closer than a brother.
I was able to visit the place where Jesus visited Peter after the resurrection, and I cannot imagine the feelings he felt when He saw the risen Savior. When he saw the One whom he betrayed, what a relief he must have felt to know that Jesus held no grudges. Jesus cooked His disciples a meal, and He sought not only to restore Peter, but He wanted Peter to carry out the great commission. He asked Peter three times if he loved Him, to which Peter responded that Jesus knew all things. He knew Peter would face persecution and would even give His life for the sake of the gospel, and He did not put Him on the shelf due to his betrayal, but He used him mightily as noted later in the scriptures.
We may look down on Peter for his betrayal, but how many of us have betrayed our Lord in same form or fashion? How many times have we been embarrassed to pray in a busy restaurant where people were watching, or at work when we are seated with others? Have many of us have been restored by our Master when we have asked for forgiveness? How many of us have been given second, third, two million chances? How quick our Father is to restore and forgive! How merciful is He to not destroy us and put us on the shelf, but yet He still chooses to use us for His service if we will humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness.
Will you be restored back to the Father today? Will you seek His forgiveness? Will you do the work He has called you to do? May we not let our betrayal be the end of our relationship, but may we run back to Him when we fall, and may we not waste a second in being restored back to our loving Father.