Mar 31, 2013

The Resurrected Jesus Restores Peter on the Shore of Galilee

A precious story from the gospels, and the only really detailed story we have from the gospels of the resurrected Jesus.  Jesus restores Peter, who had denied Him three times before His crucifixion, three times.  Each time He empowers Peter to "take care of His sheep".  In the story, Jesus is asking Peter as written in the original Greek, "do you love Me?".  The first two times Jesus uses the word "agapao", meaning unconditional, relentless love.  The first two times Peter answers Him, "You know I love You", but using the word translated love in the Greek, phileo, meaning brotherly love.  There's a difference in degrees here.  Peter isn't responding to Jesus love with the same intensity or degree which Jesus is asking of him.

In the third instance, Jesus uses the term "phileo" in questioning Peter.  Peter, broken by his own frailty and humanity, recognizing what Jesus is asking of his own commitment and heart, replies, "Lord, You know all things, and know that I love You".  Again Peter used the term "phileo".  Yet Jesus replied to Peter a third time that He wanted Peter to "feed His sheep".  This is Jesus re-affirming His appointment of Peter as the leader of the gospel movement, the early church. 

One thing that is often overlooked that we should note from this, is that Peter would have been rejected and cast out by most institutional churches in these days for his denial of the Lord.  Yet Peter was chosen by God to be His leader of the early church and the spread of the gospel.  We in our human nature are often so quick to judge others in their failures and struggles.  Yet God decides who will lead and who follows, based on His will and determination.  He alone is perfect in all His ways.  Oh that we should learn not to judge others, and accept the will of God in all things!