We have all done or said things we wish we could undo or take back. Through this, we have felt the weight of our own miscalculated action or response, and sometimes that weight can feel unbearable. For Peter, this was no exception. He denied Christ not once, or twice, but three times! Today, we will listen in on a conversation that Jesus has with Peter in order to understand Jesus’ true desire for our restoration. We will see how we can find comfort and forgiveness in spite of our own denials and missteps.
Context is always essential to understanding. Without an accurate context we apply assumptions to a given text and immediately lose the intended meaning. In today’s passage, without proper context, we can mistake Jesus’ intentions. What are some assumptions you have made before, due to a lack of accurate context?
Read John 18:16-17. Seeing Peter deny Jesus openly can remind us of a similar experience in our own lives. Drawing from your own experiences, describe how Peter must have been feeling meeting with Jesus on the beach that morning.
Peter goes on to deny Jesus three times. Being wrong often feels exactly like being right. In fact, sometimes it takes an awareness to being wrong that even alerts us to our mistake. Read Luke 22:61-62. What alerted Peter to his denial? How did Peter respond to his awareness?
Once we see Jesus begin this public conversation with Peter on the beach, the context shows Jesus addressing Peter in regard to his denial. We see Jesus address Peter publicly with the opportunity to declare his love in the same public manner he denied Jesus. Without the right context, one could think Jesus is chastising Peter. Knowing the context to call Peter back into His service, how does this view of Jesus and His heart make you feel? What does it say about God’s heart for those of us that have denied Him?
In order to reinstate Peter, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” What is the heart behind this question and what is the connection between how we live and how we love? Think about how God has reached out to you with a prompting to obey Him and you have dismissed Him. How does Peter’s encounter with Jesus afford you the opportunity to come back to Christ and follow Him?