Before church yesterday I drove to a favorite look-out spot, got in the back of my little hatchback, and read in the New Testament about those most important three days. I have many favorite parts to the story, but this time I resonated with the Book of John—after the most important 3 days—when Christ appears and has a fish fry with his apostles on the shore of Tiberias (yeah, I called it a fish fry). Then he asks Peter three times, “Lovest thou me?” “Yea, Lord; thou knowest I love thee.” “Feed my lambs.”
The significance of His asking three times I think lies not only in the obvious charge to spread the good word, but also in the message of forgiveness…because Peter had denied Him three times not many days prior to this…and I like to think that with each repeat of the question the Lord was giving Peter the opportunity to replace each denial with his devotion.
I really hope that Peter felt huge relief with each of his answers—because that’s how I would feel. When I fess up at night about all the ways I have denied Christ in my thoughts and behavior that day, I hear the same question and I feel to answer in the same way “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” And He so mercifully answers, “Feed my lambs.” He allows me to be a scared and selfish over and over and then He reminds me to love, forgive, help, and go out of my way to nourish His children. So I say, “I screwed up” and He says, “Do you love me?” and with huge relief I say, “Yes!” (at least I still have that!) And He says, “You know the answer then….feed my lambs. And do it a little better this time.”
What a gift.
What a beautiful gift.
Happy belated Easter all!
p.s. my friend Carrie shared this Easter article that I think is worth the read.