Letter To Our Children
by Pastor Joe | April 26, 2023 | Letters To Our Children
April 26, 2023
Be careful not to measure your holiness by other people's sins.
Martin Luther from his commentary on Romans
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
All have sinned…
One of the last appearances of the risen Jesus was with Peter. As best as Peter understood, he was through being a disciple. But Jesus had other plans.
Peter had failed Jesus miserably. It was a terrible three times denial of Christ at the worst possible time in the worst possible way—earlier boasting how he would be with Jesus to the very end when the others might leave. Peter had sinned.
How does Jesus respond to Peter’s sins?
-He died for Peter’s sins on the cross and after His resurrection.
-He made breakfast for him and the rest of the disciples, and they shared a meal. (John 12:12-13).
-Jesus meets Peter where he was, with his many failures, with his collapse when Jesus was betrayed, with Peter even telling people, “I don’t even know Him.” And running out in a flood of tears.
-Jesus recommissions Peter as His disciple, treating Peter as if he had never sinned. (Justification!).
The Power of the Gospel
People have often pointed out that Peter's three denials of Jesus are met with three questions from Jesus. Simon, son of John, do you love me?
There is an interesting thing here that not all Bible translations pick up. When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him the first two times, He used the word Agape- which is Jesus' self-giving love for people that places no conditions on His love. The best Peter could reply was not agape, but Philio. Philio means I am your friend Jesus. It was here the extraordinary thing happened, and it goes on happening two more times.
A person might expect Jesus to say, Peter, you really messed up. I am disappointed in you. It is too bad I thought you would be such a great leader of my people after I am gone. But I am not sure I can trust you. We will have to put you on a six-month rehabilitation course, and maybe you'll get invited back.
However, Jesus, who does all things well, did not do that. He takes Peter where he is. Because the final time Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, He used the word Philio. Peter, are you my friend? In other words, Jesus goes to where Peter is at.
I think that's how Jesus meets us all again and again when we come to Him, knowing perfectly well that we've messed up, we have gotten things wrong, and we have denied him. Therefore, we may feel so bad, thinking Jesus won't have anything good to say to us now. But no, like Peter, Jesus meets us there and says, now let's move forward from there, friend. The word of forgiveness is hiding inside the word of the new Commission for Peter. Now feed my sheep.
Dear children, take heart. There is no one like Jesus. He is perfectly kind, forgiving, and generous with His love. He never allowed sins penalty to be skipped over. He paid off the debt, Himself on the cross. Therefore, He gladly and graciously forgives and keeps putting people back to where He wants them to be. He restores! Peter is back to being a disciple. You and I, from sinner to saint in Christ, and many other good things. What love!
God bless you and your families. You are always in my day and night prayers.