“Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon
son of John, do you love me more than these?’”
– John 21:15
In the late 1870s—so the story goes—a group of wealthy friends gathered together at a Scottish estate. They were having such a good time that they didn’t notice one of their little boys had fallen into a bog where he got stuck in the thick mud and was slowly sinking. The gardener heard the boy’s cries for help, jumped in, and rescued the drowning child.
The little boy’s parents were so grateful, they asked the gardener what they could do to reward him. He hesitated, then said, "I wish my son could go to college someday and become a doctor." The grateful parents immediately responded, "We'll see to it." They promised to pay for the gardener’s son to go to medical school.
later, while Winston Churchill was prime minister of
If Winston Churchill had actually spoken those words … he would have been wrong. You see, when Jesus Christ is involved, it’s not rare at all. Jesus doesn’t just save us once. He saves us again and again. When we pray to Him for revival, we’re basically saying, “Jesus Christ, save us again. Save ME again. Lately my Christianity has been like a pile of dry, dead bones. Forgive me. Breathe fresh life into me. Revive me again.”
Over the past few weeks, I’ve focused on the need for revival in our nation and our church. Together we must humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways. But each of us, individually, needs to be revived. And Simon Peter is a great example of personal revival.
In Matthew 26, shortly before Jesus was arrested, He told His disciples that all of them would fall away from Him (v. 31). But Peter boldly proclaimed, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (v. 33). And Jesus prophesied, “This very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times” (v. 34). You may recall what happened later. Three times that night, after Jesus was taken away by soldiers—mocked, slapped, punched, and tortured with scourge whips—Peter broke his reckless promise. Three times, when asked, he said he had never been with Jesus, going so far as to say, “I don’t know the man!” (vs. 69-74). There’s no sugar-coating it: The great apostle Peter fell. And he desperately needed to be lifted back up and revived.
Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead. According to 1 Corinthians 15:5, Peter was the first apostle He appeared to after His resurrection. It was clear that despite all his failures, Peter held a special place in Christ’s heart. But as the days passed, Peter still needed to experience the full forgiveness and restoration of Christ. That forgiveness and restoration came in a conversation we read about in John 21:15-22. Three times, Jesus asked: “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Three times, Peter affirmed that love. And each time, Jesus responded with a command to take care of His sheep (His beloved followers). I want you to join me in answering these important questions:
#1: Why did Jesus call Peter by his birth name, Simon, instead of by the nickname Jesus had given him? I believe it was because Jesus was giving Peter a fresh start. The name “Peter” means “rock.” But that rock had crumbled under pressure. So, in John 21, Jesus took Peter back to the beginning and gives him a fresh start—a new opportunity, by God’s grace, to be the Rock that Christ had called him to be.
#2: Why did Jesus ask Peter three different times, “Do you love Me?” On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter had publicly denied Jesus three times. So, Jesus gave him an opportunity to publicly confess his love and commitment to Jesus three times.
#3: Why did Jesus follow each of Peter’s confessions with a command to feed or take care of his lambs and sheep? In John 21, Jesus forgave Peter and fully restored him to his position as the lead apostle. But that’s not all. Jesus does something very significant here that the metaphors clue us in about. The first time Jesus commissioned Peter, He said, “Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” But this time, Jesus switched metaphors. I think it’s clear that Jesus fully restored Peter as a fisher of men. But here Jesus adds to his role. From this point forward, Peter wouldn’t just be a FISHER of unsaved men. He would also be a SHEPHERD of saved Christians.
Isn’t that just
like Jesus? He doesn’t just forgive. He restores. He revives. And He promotes. Jesus took
a big chance on Simon Peter, and it paid off big time. Peter was the lead
apostle of the Church in
Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Beginning on Easter Sunday
(April 9th), join us at our great NEW worship location in