Summary: We look at the reinstatement of Peter, using the passage in John 21 as our reference.
After Jesus finished dealing with the physical needs of the Disciples, He then turned to dealing with their spiritual needs. In these verses, we see that Jesus is examining Peter, internally. Peter had repented and been restored to fellowship with the Lord since he had publicly denied Him.
Now his restoration is being publicly acknowledged by the Lord. Peter wasn’t going to boast anymore that he would never forsake the Lord, but Jesus wanted Him to have not just fond feelings for Him, but agape love for Him. Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was being raised up to lead and would love God enough to willingly and completely serve Him.
How awesome that Peter was not only restored and reinstated, but he was being restored and reinstated by the risen Lord Himself, in public, and among his fellow disciples.
Three times Peter had denied Christ and Three times he was asked by the Lord, “do you love Me?” Notice how Jesus went from evangelizing in the earlier part of the chapter when He wanted them to be fishers of men, to wanting them to be teachers and have pastoral care for the flock. “Feed my lambs.” Feed or teach the young ones of the flock. “Take care of my sheep.” There are lambs and sheep in the flock, and they need the loving care of one who knows the true Shepherd. “Feed my Sheep.”
The underlying message here is that love for Christ is the only acceptable motive for serving Him. We too , are to care for one another with the love of Christ.
Love is to be our foundation, we are ambassadors for Christ when we reflect His call to love one another. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians , says, “and now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.” 1CORINITHIANS. 13: 13
Jesus was drawing from Peter the assurance of his love and loyalty and pressing the question deep down inside of Peter’s wounded heart. Peter still felt the pain of knowing how badly he had failed the Lord, and yet Jesus is speaking about love. Why was Jesus acting like nothing bad had happened.
Jesus had forgiven Peter and his sins were washed away, so Jesus didn’t rebuke him but was giving him another chance to prove himself. Jesus was looking at Peter’s future, not his past, He’s concerned with Peter’s redemption, not his failures. God doesn’t stop loving us because we make mistakes, he wants to strengthen our weaknesses, forgive our sins and move beyond our failures, so He can continue to use us for His glory. He is a merciful God, a God who loves us , and will not forsake us.
Notice the 3rd. time when the Lord asked, “Do you love me?” that Peter answered, Lord, you know all things, “ Jesus knew Peter, he knew everything about him and he also knew what Peter was going to do.
Here Jesus predicts Peter’s death. When he was younger he had great freedom, and went where he wished, but at the end of his life, he would be arrested, bound, and carried off to execution. Peter was going to glorify God by dying as a martyr. The one who had denied the Lord was going to lay down his life for Him. Then Jesus said, “follow me.”