Jesus now focuses on restoring Peter. It is absolutely remarkable how thorough Jesus is in establishing Peter’s repentance and bringing about his full restoration.
Jesus has tremendous insight into Peter’s sin. While we would naturally assume that Peter’s sin was denying Christ, Jesus knows that his sin runs far deeper than that. Peter’s sin is pride. He has confronted Jesus for saying things that he did not think would happen. He has boasted that he would die for Jesus. He has declared that his devotion to Jesus was greater than all of the other disciples’. His pride is what resulted in his denial of Christ.
The first question
Jesus asks Peter if his love for Jesus was greater than that of the other disciples. Peter had previously boasted that it was. Peter now acknowledges that it is not. Jesus then tells Peter to feed His lambs or teach baby Christians.
The second question
Jesus now asks Peter if he loves Him enough to die for Him. Peter had previously boasted that he would rather die for Christ than deny Him. Now Peter declares that he loves Jesus, but he is not so certain that he would be able to die for Him. Jesus responds by telling Peter to shepherd His sheep or be an example to the other disciples.
The third question
Jesus then asks Peter if he loves Him like a brother. Peter responds that Jesus knows all things and knows that he loves Jesus. Previously Peter had questioned Jesus’ knowledge about many things including Peter’s own heart. Now Peter shows a humbled and repentant attitude and faith in Jesus and His Word. Jesus then tells him to feed His sheep or teach all believers.
A future glimpse
Jesus does not stop at just restoring Peter. He now tells Peter that he will someday die for Jesus. While this may seem horrific to us, it would have been very healing to a now humbled Peter. Jesus is now telling Peter that he does love Christ enough to die for Him.
A full restoration
This process took place in front of the disciples. Jesus was showing Peter’s full repentance and restoration. We need to follow Jesus’ example and help fully restore brothers and sisters who fall into sin. This will require a lot of hard, soul-searching questions, but it will result in full restoration.
Who do you need to seek to restore? Are you in need of restoration? Will you repent and come to Jesus for forgiveness and restoration?