by Cheri Cowell
I once heard the story of a little boy who’d been prepped by his parents on the proper dinner etiquette for a meal with his Dad’s business partners. All day he was quizzed on things like the right words to say and the correct silverware to use. Finally, it was time to eat and everyone took his or her places at the table. But as he slid into his assigned seat, his elbow caught the corner of his water glass. Before he could catch it, water went everywhere. Silence fell. Then his father unexpectedly reached over, and with a wink, tipped over his own glass.
That is grace. Jesus offers that same grace, spilled out for you and me.
Jesus had performed the miracle of providing fish to men out in their fishing boats three years ago and told Peter he would make him a fisher of men. Now, three years later, Peter had a problem. He had failed on the night of Jesus’ arrest, denying any allegiance to Christ. What he had done had the potential to define the rest of His days.
Jesus knew Peter’s pain, so he crafted a moment just for him.
The disciples were once again fishing, and once again, Jesus miraculously provided the catch. Surely Peter was sadly reminded of that life-changing day when Jesus had called him, as they struggled to manage the overflowing nets. But Jesus had more in store for Peter.
“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17 NIV
Jesus did not even bring up Peter’s denial. Instead He asked three times, “Do you love Me?” With each declaration, Peter was given the chance to reaffirm his commitment to Jesus. Jesus was giving Peter a clear message: I have already forgiven you. Now go and do what I have called you to do.
As you read this passage, what comes to your mind that causes you guilt? Perhaps, like Peter, you feel that your sin is unforgivable. But the truth is, nothing is unforgivable with Jesus. He has already paid for that sin. There is nothing you can do that His overflowing grace will not cover.
“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:19 NIV
About the author: Cheri Cowell’s Bible study, One Story, One Mission, One God, shares God’s single-minded mission from Genesis through Revelation. To learn about this and Cheri’s other books visit Cheri’s website.
Free Book Contest! Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Cheri’s book, 365 Devotionals for Peace , please comment below. By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win! If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.
Join the conversation: Have you ever committed a sin that you felt God might not forgive?