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The Three Times

Usually, when you hear the term three strikes we think of it in a negative connotation. In baseball three strikes and the batter is out. In some states the term can mean you are going to sentenced to life imprisonment. But for the apostle Peter being asked a question three times proved to be loving, and one of restoration. 

One of the most intimate conversations in the bible occurs between Peter and Jesus Christ as he presents himself to the disciples for the third time on the shore of the sea of Galilee. Peter and the disciples had went fishing. Some scholars said that they were confused as to what to do next. 
There is some truth in that statement as Jesus told his disciples in John 15:5, …. Apart from me you can do nothing. One researcher said that this was significant as the lesson for the disciples as Jesus let them understand that without him they could not accomplish the things that he had set before them. 

In this conversation, Peter becomes dejected as he is asked emphatically if he loved Christ three specific times within this one conversation. In His reply to Peter, Christ, gives him three commands that impacted him and are meant for each of us. 

The encounter with Christ occurs in John 21:

15 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.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved 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. 

There is a multitude of lessons to be learned from this encounter, and we could stretch this out over the course of many days. But I want to focus on three lessons that Peter got from this conversation. 

Lesson One:

  • Jesus loved Peter

It did not matter to Jesus that Peter did the very thing that Peter said himself that he would not do. He loved the man he made a fisher of men. 

  • Lesson Two:

Jesus forgave Peter

When we accept Christ as our savior we are forgiven. However, we will still commit sin, and the bible tells us that God still forgives us if we confess it to him (1 John 1:9)

  • Lesson Three

Jesus restored Peter

Peter denied Christ, and he was distraught that the man he deeply loved and worshipped as the true son of God asked him a third time if he loved him. 

Jesus forgave him, and restored Peter’s faith and told him to go out and complete the mission he had been given.

Just like Peter, many of us including myself have denied Christ by our words and/or actions. And like Peter, we have been forgiven if we sought the Lord’s forgiveness. When we did, God forgave us, and restored us to the mission and plan that he has for each of us. 

So today, know that even though we may deny God we know that God still loves us. We can find strength and comfort in knowing that God can restore us and our faith in Him through his son Jesus Christ. He is our shield bearer, our protector, and our Lord and savior. And like the disciples, we cannot accomplish anything without him. But know that with him all things are possible. 

Tomorrow, we will learn the significance and difference of the three words: 

  • Feed my lambs
  • Tend my sheep
  • Feed my sheep

God bless you, 

And,

Remember that Brenda and I love you, and that God does too.
Jeff Houdyshelt

All Rights Reserved

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Author:

Jeff and his wife Brenda have been married for 28 years and are part time missionaries in the nation of Mexico and in town of Matamoros, Mexico. They both attend Generation Changers church, in Nashville, Tennessee. Jeff is a licensed minister and pastoral counselor. He has spent the past several years of his life dedicated to ministering to and the counseling of those facing addiction. He also counsels and meets weekly with the families of those in addiction. His pursuits are to help set those struggling free with the love and message of Jesus Christ.

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