It is easy for many of us to go to a place of self-doubt and loathing. When we feel that what we did five years or five days ago should sideline us from God’s purposes, we live restricted lives, just hoping we have a seat saved for us in Heaven. The power of mercy coupled with grace is a compelling love we find first and foremost in God. This humble and powerful love frees us to leave our corners of sin and shame, and it invites us into a story with more risk and love than we could ever imagine.
- What unfaithfulness in your life tempts you to believe you’re better off on the sidelines?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 21:15-19 (ESV)
15 When 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.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved 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. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Who might Jesus have been referring to when he said, “do you love me more than these”?
- How many times did Jesus ask the same question to Peter?
- Jesus encouraged and empowered Peter for loving ministry by loving Peter well. What personal interactions with Christ have you experienced that fuel your purpose?
- How might Christ be asking you to follow him during this current stage of life? How might that call be different and/or similar than the original call to follow him?
RESPOND TO GOD
Christ spoke directly into the full life of Peter, seeing both the good and bad, and showed Peter an amount of faithfulness that met and went beyond his own unfaithfulness. Peter was not only forgiven, he was unleashed by love to join in God’s mission of caring for his people. Like Peter, we can see and heed the example of Christ: that when his mercy and grace work together, broken humanity can move forward.
- Ask the Spirit to search your heart for where you need mercy and grace today. Ask him to show you who in your life might need those same things from you today.