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We've all heard of the Apostle Peter. The big fisherman with the (sometimes) overzealous tongue who denied Christ three times in a public square. Yet not long after that heartbreaking event, he was used by God in spectacular ways. He preached a sermon, and 3000 people trusted Christ. For decades he risked his possessions, family, and even his very life to preach the gospel. He wrote part of the New Testament, and eventually was killed for refusing to deny Christ. The man who was at one time afraid of a servant girl became a Jesus freak in the evil Roman Empire. His form of execution was crucifixion like Christ- and he was so in love with his Master that he asked his executioners to crucify him upside down out of respect for Jesus. Now in my book, most people don't change. The timid remain timid, the stubborn stay stubborn, and so on...what happened to Peter that completely turned him around?
Some might think that he went to seminary, and all that great education transformed him. A nice idea, but there were no seminaries back then.
Perhaps he attended a cool youth conference or read some popular Christian books, and that's what revolutionized his walk with Christ? I don't think so.
One encounter with the Risen Savior changed everything. Here's what happened:
After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you."
"Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
"Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love you."
"Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said.
Once more he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"
Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you."
Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep. The truth is, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked and go wherever you wanted to. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will direct you and take you where you don't want to go." Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, "Follow me." (John 21:15-19)
Deep in his heart Peter must have still felt like a failure, and even though Jesus was back from the dead and acting very friendly towards him, I'm sure there was a nagging feeling of worthlessness in his heart. So in this scene, Jesus takes care of some unfinished business: namely- "Peter, you're still on the team..."
Is it any co-incidence that Jesus asked him three times if He loved Him? I don't think Christ was hard of hearing, rather that Peter was hard of heart. Jesus knew that for Peter the be the 'rock' of the church down the road, he was going to need his pride crushed into the dust, and his love raised to a new level.
Jesus says the same thing to us: "do you love me more than these?" Don't let anything get in the way of your love for Christ: sin, sorrow, pleasure, pain, friends, future, worries and wishes will all fight for first in your life- but you must bury them under the soil of your love for the Savior.
Perhaps this is a good week for you to have an encounter with Christ. Get alone and seek His face...when you find Him, picture His loving smile of compassion and forgiveness saying to you: "Follow Me".
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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