John 21:15-17, what does it mean? Devotional Commentary

By Practical Christianity Foundation, (PCF)

In John 21:15-17, Jesus asked Peter three times if he "loved Him". Puzzled by such questioning and frustrated at the third query, Peter answered "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. Yes, lord; You know that I love You." And then with a grieving and frustrated sentiment, Peter answered, "Lord, You know all things, You know that I love you." Peter affirmed in his answers that Jesus knew. But, did Peter know anything at all about himself? That was the gist of the question.

But it seems to us at the outset that Jesus did not show any concern for Peter's agitated and unsettled emotion, as we would normally expect from the loving and caring Lord and Master. He did not say "it's okay Peter, I just wanted to check. Instead, Jesus gave Peter assignments to tend and feed Jesus' lambs and sheep. We would not have done this! We would not have put Peter in such a mood in the first place! And if we did, we would have consoled Peter and tried to settle his emotions. But why did Jesus do that to Peter, of all the disciples?

Peter was right on one very important point. Jesus knows "all things". But Peter knew nothing even about himself. Jesus asked Peter the same question three times to show Peter how little he knew about his own weakness. You see, when Peter felt that the visible and physical Jesus was no longer in his immediate presence as it was before the cross, Peter decided it was time to take matters into his own hands and return to what he knew. He took steps to return to the old and the familiar. Essentially and perhaps subconsciously, he abandoned the new path that Jesus set before him as His redeemed child. In John 21:3, Peter said he is going fishing and six others followed him. Peter did not only make decisions to recast his journey in the old and familiar path, but he influenced those who were with him to follow his actions.

So Jesus came right to where Peter was toiling in his own way to forge a life for himself through the old and familiar means, and reminded him that he is still his Provider and the Lord of his life. But before Jesus gave Peter His final direction, He reminded Peter and his friends that they gained nothing by following their own old and familiar way. And then He firmly told Peter that he simply must follow Him and stay the course. So it is for all who call Jesus Lord and Savior. There is nothing right or good for us apart from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we love Him, then obedience and commitment should characterize our relationship to Him, as the natural outcome of His love at work in us. In Him, we can do all things for His glory and for our blessings.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

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John 21:15-17, what does it mean?
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