By Em Sumaway
(Editor’s Note: We welcome brother Em Sumaway, our new guest contributor to this blog. Brother Em holds a Bachelor of Theology. He studied for his Master of Divinity at El Theological Seminary, Cebu City. He is a guest preacher and small group leader at God of Grace Christian Fellowship, Inc., Escario St., Cebu City. God bless you as you read this message of the Word.)
So 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, “Tend My lambs.”
He said to him again 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, “Shepherd My sheep.”
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 all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.”
Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”
Among the four gospel writers, only the Apostle John recorded this conversation between Jesus and Peter. This dialogue follows a dramatic appearing of the Lord to seven apostles in the Sea of Galilee to whom He also ate breakfast with. According to John, this is the third time Jesus was manifested to His disciples after His resurrection (Jn. 21:14).
A number of scholars describe this event as the “restoration of Peter.” We remember that one of the three times Peter denied the Lord was beside a fire (Jn. 18:25). Now beside another fire he was to be restored publicly. This restoration is necessary if Peter will once again confirm his decision to follow the Lord—the same way he did when he first met Him.
In this conversation between Peter and the Lord, we will have an idea what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.