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.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt 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. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.” (John 21:15-19)I believe that every day Jesus gives us the opportunity to receive power to start over again. Perhaps you need to start a relationship with Jesus for the first time. Perhaps you have been going your own way, and now you realize that you need him. Perhaps you need to renew your walk with Christ after some setbacks. Every one of us fail in some way every day. And each new day is a chance to start over with Jesus. As it says in Lamentations 3:22-23, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
In order to give us power to start over again, Jesus has a question he must ask us and a command to give us. The question is: "Do you love me?" The command is: "Follow me!"
"Do you love me?" By asking Peter this question three times over, Jesus was giving Peter an opportunity for a make-up exam.
Peter had failed the first examination. On the night before his crucifixion, Jesus told Peter: "before the rooster crows you yourself will disown me three times." Peter responded by saying to Jesus, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." (Mark 14:30-31) Just a few hours later, Peter denied three times that he even knew Jesus.
Can you imagine denying that you even knew your best friend on the night before he was killed? Can you imagine the guilt and load of regret that Peter must have carried with him after that event?
Peter had failed the test of love, the test of friendship, the test of loyalty to the Lord of the Universe. And now that same Lord Jesus Christ was giving him an opportunity to be restored by asking Peter three times, once for each time that Peter had denied him, "Do you love me?"
If Jesus could forgive Peter, then he can and will forgive us if we seek that forgiveness. In what areas of your life would you like Jesus to give you a chance to start over today? Why not talk to him about that right now? He loves you and forgives you more than you can possibly imagine.