15When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19(He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
At Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked a question to the disciples. Jesus wanted to know who the disciples believed him to be. There were many answers offered, Then Jesus said to Peter: “who do you say that I am.”Peter stated that Jesus was the son of the living God. This affirmation came to Peter about who Jesus is. This is startling, shocking, and amazing news. Jesus is the Son of the living God! This statement from Peter was not only a statement of fact but also of faith.
Peter affirmed the sonship of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi then a short time later denied knowing Jesus in Jerusalem. Sulking away into the shadows of the night, Peter left heartbroken. Peter struggled with his decision. When we make poor decisions there are always consequences. When Peter decided to deny Jesus he had to live with his choices. Peter experienced pain, guilt, and sadness. Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies in life is when we break the trust we have with a friend. Broken trust is one of the harded things to mend. Many people go through life never reconciling broken relationships. But it can be done. Relationships can be mended. It takes effort on the part of all parties.
Jesus and Peter show us how broken relationships can be mended. On the seashore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus and Peter have an open and honest conversation. Jesus shows us that life moves forward. Jesus knew Peter denied him. Jesus knew the pain and hurt Peter was feeling. Jesus moved Peter into a good place in his life by allowing Peter to be affirmed. Jesus could have condemned Peter but instead, Jesus loved him, and by loving him, Peter accepted the opportunity to be forgiven. At that moment, the relationship was reconciled. Peter could live forward again.
Friends, it is easy to not let go of the past. It is easy to continue to live in the past. It is easy to hold on to the pain, hurt, and anger. It takes the bigger person to live forward.
Let me offer this challenge. If the relationship is broken choose to mend it by offering reconciliation and forgiveness. Let us be like Jesus and Peter. One can offer forgiveness and one can receive forgiveness to be reconciled. Jesus said to Peter do you love me. Make the move take the initiative and build trust!