Denial Erased

Today the Lord wants to speak to the one who may be carrying the weight of guilt in denying his name before men.

When Jesus went to the cross, Peter stayed behind and denied knowing Jesus 3 times. You can read the full passage of scripture in Luke 22:54ff. In Matthew 26:34 prior to Jesus going to the cross, he revealed to Peter that Peter would deny Jesus 3 times, and Peter denied that too!

The passage I want to focus on lives in John 21. To lend a little context, Jesus already resurrected and appeared to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. The Bible says that Simon Peter told the other disciples that he was going out to fish. His friends Thomas and James and John went with him. As you might expect, they caught nothing. Early that morning a man appeared on the shore and called out to them, asking them if they caught anything. After the disciples replied, the man instructed them to throw their net on the right side of the boat, saying they would find some there. The bible says they were unable to haul the catch of fish because of the large number. When John realized it was Jesus, he told Peter who immediately dressed and jumped into the water to get to shore. When they arrived to the shore, Jesus already had a fire heating bread and they basically had a little fish fry fellowship.

I want to hone in on the scripture in verses 15-17 where Jesus led Peter through a three part confession that removes the overbearing shadow of Peter’s thrice denial of Jesus at the cross.

He says, “Simon, son of John, do you truly 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 truly 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?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

I have to wonder if Peter went back to what he knew because of the secret guilt he carried about denying Jesus after professing to be his ride or die. Jesus already appeared to the 12, so he knew Jesus was alive. And while the 12 had not yet been told to go to Jerusalem to wait for the gift of the holy spirit, perhaps Peter felt unqualified to do the work of a disciple after denying him. I know I would.

It is one thing to say you love Jesus, but the real test is willingness to serve him. Peter repented, and here Jesus is asking for his complete surrender to serve Jesus by feeding his people. As Jesus said, he would make him a fisher of men, rather than fish.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. The first time Jesus said, ‘Do you truly love me,’ he was referring to a self-sacrificial love, as in agape love. The second time, Jesus focused on Peter alone, and still used the word agape.

As an aside, agape love means unconditional, and sacrificial love. Agape is the kind of love that is felt by a person willing to do anything for another, including sacrificing themselves, without expecting anything in return. The third time, Jesus used the greek word phileo, which signifies affection, affinity, or brotherly love, basically asking Peter, “Are you even my friend?” and every time, Peter responded with phileo. I love that Jesus can be blunt at times. He quickly drills down to core issues with Peter to help Peter face his true feelings and motives.

To The One Who Has Denied Jesus

I wrote this down and wanted to share it with the one who is carrying the weight of guilt from having denied knowing Jesus.

“There are those who profess their love for me but deny me when it’s time to be my sunbeam. When it’s time for them to give me glory for their life and accomplishments, they deny me. When it’s time to make the room uncomfortable because of my name, they choose the comfort and acceptance of men.

I already knew what they would say, just as I knew Peter would deny me. I still chose him, and I still choose these. I died for them knowing they would deny me. Their guilt and shame have deceived them into thinking they cannot be my witnesses. Just as I redeemed Peter, I will lift the guilt and self-condemnation of these when they come to me for forgiveness and turn away from denying my name.

I am calling these deniers to become rocks as Peter, to take my name into the rooms and countries they are sent to. Will you desire my acceptance over that of man? Will you carry me where I send you?? Will you take my name to make it known? You must make the choice for yourself.”

The Lord wants to forgive and redeem you. You need to know that you have to make a choice to serve God, not just love him. He’s calling you to a greater level of commitment to him, but he will not force you. Have you ever said, “Oh I just love her!, but you don’t really know the person. We can profess to love someone at a surface level without really knowing them. Jesus wants you to know him intimately so there’s no mistaking to this world that you are his.

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