Imagine having breakfast with Jesus. What would you want to say to him?
Jesus’ disciples are out fishing. That’s what they did before they met Jesus, in fact, it was what some of them were doing when they met him. They had a bad night where they caught nothing. But then Jesus showed up and everything changed. This is something that had already happened once to them – Jesus showed up and suddenly they caught more fish than they could handle at the start of everything. Meeting Jesus changes everything.
So they sat on the beach talking and having fish for breakfast. Things are back to where they were before. Or nearly, at least. Peter is still full of regrets for what he had done by betraying Jesus. So Jesus asks him “Do you love me?” three times, mirroring the three times that Peter had said he didn’t know Jesus. Each time, the answer is “yes, you know I love you.”
Love is a complex thing and it comes in many forms, and in writing the Gospel in the original language, John uses two of the different words in Greek for love to emphasise this. Sometimes we do let down the people we love. But the important thing is that we do love them. With any type of sin, we know that the chances are that we will keep on messing up. The big question is, which way are we choosing to face – are we facing the sin and the things that take us away from God, or do we keep on facing God and his ways?
To make his restoration complete, Jesus gives Peter a job – to feed his lambs. Peter was the founder of the church and did amazing things that brought many people into faith. God can use someone who totally messed up powerfully for the sake of his kingdom. He can even use you and me.
Lord God, thank you that you are the God of second chances, and seventh chances and seventy-seventh chances. Help me as I choose to turn to you today. Amen.
Who do you need to forgive today? Release them (and you) from what they have done, just as Jesus released Peter.