Song: Brokenness Aside
Artist: All Sons & Daughters
15 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, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him 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, “Tend my sheep.” 17 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, 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.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him,“Follow me.”
Peter’s Other Confession
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
What did it mean for a grieved Peter to say to Jesus, “You know everything”?
We’ve come through trial, crucifixion and resurrection; and, for Peter, this means we’ve come through denial.
And here, on the other side of Peter’s lowest point, we find Jesus probing uncomfortably: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He asks again. And again.
It’s painful to watch. It must have been devastating to Peter.
The name Jesus himself had given him. “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter)” (John 1:42). Peter. Jesus had rechristened him, made him something more. He’d called his God-given mission out of him. Peter – “rock.” Jesus had made him new.
But now? We’re back to ‘Simon, son of John.’
Peter had denied Jesus – and failed his new name. He’s back to his old self. Back to what he knows. Even back to fishing. What else is he supposed to do? He’s failed as a disciple. Jesus has risen – but Peter has fallen.
And so he says, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” It’s both a confession of Christ – and a confession of self. Jesus, you are the Christ, the Son of God, who knows everything. And this means you know everything…about me. You know the best and worst in me. Jesus, you know that I love you. And you know that my love for you, though undeniably real, is also weak. Imperfect and frail. You are the Christ – I am a failure.
In response to this moment of painful honesty and vulnerability? Jesus says those grace-filled words that breathe new life into this failure: “Follow me.”
It’s as if Jesus says, “Your love for me is one thing – but My love for you…” My love for you makes you something more – even when you fail.
Perhaps, today, you need to follow Peter’s example. Maybe you need to make a confession of your own. What would it mean for you, today, to say, “Lord, you know everything”?
But, please, whatever you do, don’t stop there. Hear Jesus’ life-giving words (in response to your love…and your failures): Follow me.