Read I Peter 5 and John 21
And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” I Peter 5:10 & 11
Poor, poor Peter. He denied his Lord. Was it three times, four times, six times that he denied even knowing Him? The Lord had told him he would deny Him three times before the next rooster crowed. Peter was deeply hurt, very insulted. But the Lord was gracious. He didn’t say how easily Peter would deny him—to every servant girl, to every passerby. Poor, poor Peter.
And then he saw his Lord crucified in such an awful way. From a distance he heard the taunting. And he felt the thump as the cross with his Lord nailed to it dropped into the hole dug for it. He saw that hideous sight as He was lifted up, naked, for every passerby to hide their faces from. He saw two other pathetic men on crosses on either side of the Lord Jesus. Then came the three hours of darkness, followed by a loud clear triumphant voice, “It is finished!” That cry. What a wonderful cry. It tore away all the confusion and fog of Peter’s emotions and cacophony of thoughts, for it was the cry of His Lord. His Lord! So different than himself. So strong, powerful to the very end.
Then he and John had run to the tomb. He saw the grave clothes and the folded face cloth, but the body of his Lord was gone. Then twice, with the other disciples, he saw his resurrected Lord in the upper room with the other disciples. He was so grateful, so overjoyed. But still. It was still there. He had denied and denied his Lord, the beautiful, the perfect Lord Jesus.
“I’m going fishing,” he said to the other disciples. He knew his place. It was out on that lake. Every night. Pulling in fish. Just making a living.
“Do you love me?” said Jesus when Peter went up to meet him on the shore. That he did. He loved his Lord. He might be an absolutely worthless son of Belial, but he did love the Lord.
“Feed my lambs,” said Jesus.
Maybe not. Maybe he’d best stick to trying to feed himself.
“Do you love me?” the Lord asked again.
“You know I love you,” answered Peter.
“Tend my sheep,” said the Lord.
“Do you love me?” asked the Lord.
What is this? “I do love him,” thought Peter. “Lord you know all things, you know I love you.”
“Feed my sheep,” said the Lord Jesus. “Truly, truly I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” John 21
Peter was old now. He had aged quickly. He was now so old he had lost all his will. What did he want now? Where did he want to go? He didn’t know. But he did know that what he wanted didn’t matter much now. When he had wanted, he had wanted to save his own neck. That’s why he had been so scared. That’s why he had denied his Lord, his Savior.
To encourage others, he wrote a few years later, “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen” I Peter 5:10 & 11