We come to this Good Friday with the story John writes about Peter. It is now the third visit of Jesus since His resurrection from the dead. The tragic weekend has passed. Peter wants things to go back to normal, put it all behind him, his betrayal, and the shame. But something has changed. Jesus is now the resurrected Lord. In this intimate conversation by the burning fire at the Lake of Tiberias, Jesus makes Peter face himself, restores and recommissions him.
Peter was determined. He would never deny Christ. He would die for Him first. The crushing events of Easter, however, revealed what actually lie within him. Three times, he denied knowing Jesus. He couldn’t go on pretending it never happened. Perhaps that is the reason Jesus has Peter affirm his love for Him three times. Jesus must take Peter beyond his failure.
Telling Jesus he loved Him three times was for Peter’s benefit. It reminded him of the love relationship he had with Jesus. He now has a clean starting place, his betrayal, his sleepiness in the Garden of Gethsemane, all his failures, have experienced the death, and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God, the Good Shepherd who had laid down His life for the sheep.
Peter returned to fishing. Going back to the familiar things would make him feel better. Jesus, however, interrupted him, and reminded him of a far greater commission. Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” He told him three times. The great shepherd of the sheep, was leaving to prepare a place for His lambs. He needed His disciples. He needed Peter to fill in the gap, under the power of the Holy Spirit. He also predicted Peter’s demise. Peter was curious what it meant for another disciple but Jesus quickly reminded him, it was not his business.
In this intimate conversation by the burning fire at the Lake of Tiberias, Jesus made Peter face himself, restored, and recommissioned him.