Restoring the Rock

The Epistle of I Peter demonstrates the Holy Spirit’s ministry of inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) through the apostle. Peter’s letter to persecuted Christians is also an example of the apostle’s teaching ministry which began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-36).

However, Peter’s preaching and teaching precedes even the events of Acts 2. To see why Peter is so focused before his listeners in Acts 2, and before his readers in his two epistles, we need to focus our attention on the written account found in John 21.

In John 21, we see Jesus restoring and recommissioning Peter from the despair and disillusionment of his threefold denial of his Lord and Savior prior to the crucifixion (Matthew 26:58; Mark 15:54; Luke 22:54; John 18:15-18). Peter rejoiced with the other disciples over Jesus’ resurrection (John 20), but believed he had forfeited the right and responsibilities of being a witness to the resurrection because of his denials. He emphatically meant this when he said, “I am going fishing” (21:3). He was going back to the life he knew before he met Jesus.

Yet Jesus lovingly and gently takes Peter aside and three times he asks Peter whether or not Peter loves Him (John 21:15-17) more than the fish he has gone back to catching. Jesus asks Peter this question three times to parallel Peter’s three-fold denial. Jesus also gives Peter a three-fold commission: feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep (21:15-17).

Jesus tells Peter to no longer seek for fish, but rather to feed and tend the sheepfold of God: the believing community or the church. “My lambs” and “my sheep” refer to “my church” (John 10:14, 26-27; Matthew 16:18). Peter urges his fellow elders to do the same (I Peter 5:1-2). The food upon which the church grows is the Word of God.

Peter’s preaching and teaching reflected the restoration he received from Jesus. We can experience the same restoration from the Savior as Peter did due to our own failures and failings. It is when we receive this forgiveness by faith, we can once again be a vessel the Master can choose to use (I John 1:9).

Ask God right now to forgive you of your failures and sin, and also for Him to begin using you for His glory. All you have to do is ask.

Soli deo Gloria!

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