November 30, 2013

Stuck in Guilt, Restored to Discipleship

John 21:15-19

[Jesus] said to him, “Follow me!”
—John 21:19


On the night Jesus was arrested, Peter had revoked his discipleship. Under threat, he had denied three times that he was a follower of Jesus. When he realized what he had done, Peter went out and wept bitterly (Matthew 26:69-75). He was overwhelmed by shame and guilt.

After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Lord asked Peter a question. But the question wasn’t “Why did you abandon me when I needed you?” or “Why didn’t you have the guts to stick up for me?” It was simply “Do you love me?”

Jesus had died on the cross for Peter’s sins. What he wanted to know now was whether Peter loved him. Peter’s sins were in the past; Peter’s love would shape his future.

When Peter said, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you,” Jesus, the conqueror of sin and death and the Lord of life, graciously invited him to take up his discipleship again and follow him into the future.

Doing the same with us, Jesus is astonishingly gracious. He doesn’t bring up our past sins, betrayals, or infidelities. He simply wants to know if we love him. For that makes all the difference.

Are you seeking Jesus? Do you love him? He invites us to go out and serve him today!

Gracious, compassionate,

loving Lord, I do love you. By your Spirit, help me to remain in your love, dwelling in it, living out of it each day, and sharing it with others, to your glory. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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