The gospel of John tells us that Jesus showed himself to the disciples again at the sea of Tiberias. Can you imagine the plethora of emotions going on? Here Jesus had been arrested, beaten, whipped, crucified, the stone moved and his body missing… then realizing the resurrection he prophesied had taken place, and seeing him risen! Wow, so much going on in a small window of time. Let’s think about Peter in particular. He had denied Christ, watched him die, and now is before him and Jesus is asking him a question in John 21,
“14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead. 15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
Now, I want us to look at how this can impact us. Many folks only like to remember Peter for his temper and denial, but you can read in Acts 2 how he preached and some three thousand souls believed and were baptized. God could still use him!!! Wow, this shows me we don’t have time for self pity or excuses to wallow in regret. Even after the three denials, Jesus instructed Peter on what to do… “Feed my sheep!”
You and I have the same responsibility. If we love Christ, we ought to feed his sheep. We are all called to witness. We feed his sheep by displaying the love of Christ, spreading his word, and being actively engaged in the kingdom work. Now, the enemy will tell you that you’re not fit to do his work, and that is a lie! I don’t know what struggles, shame or regret you may have experienced, but God does… and He sent Jesus to die for it all. Satan also knows and he wants to use it against you that he may hinder the call of Christ on your life.
Please know that whatever shortcomings you may think you have, the Lord wants to use you just as he did Peter! You are special, unique, loved beyond measure, redeemed, and called to reach people that others can’t! Everyone has a purpose. We are the body of Christ, and we need every member in it’s place and properly functioning.
Be encouraged today, that no matter what your past may be, your future can be certain. You can certainly have joy, peace, love, forgiveness, assurance and victory! It doesn’t matter if you have denied in your past, or you’ve done things you wish you hadn’t… what matters is Jesus is calling TODAY. Let today start your new life in Christ. Peter had a choice, he could either feed the sheep or not. When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, peter said “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” The Lord was not concerned now about his answer or his past… only if Peter would do what he was asking. Will you do what Jesus is calling you to do? We can say good words all day long, and even learn how to answer people in a pleasing manner, but what will our actions be? It is one thing to just say we love Jesus, but are we willing to serve him?
My prayer today is “Lord, I give you my thoughts of defeat, shame, denial, and unworthiness, and beginning this day, let my words and deeds be pleasing to you. Thank you for loving me, forgiving me, and blessing me, when I didn’t think I was worth loving. Help me to love and forgive others, just as I have been… in Jesus’ name!”
Rev. Cathleen N. Cathcart is the pastor of New Life Worship Center in Spartanburg.