April 11, 2015

When You Fail Someone You Love

John 21:15-19

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

—  John 21:15

Peter had been so sure that he would never deny his Lord. He really meant it when he had said, just a few days earlier, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you" (Matthew 26:35).

But Peter failed the one he loved by denying him three times (John 18:15-18, 25-27). And now he knew that he could never take back what he had done.

The only one who could make things right was the risen Savior. And that's what Jesus did.

When Jesus appeared to his disciples by the lake, he confronted Peter—not to humiliate him but to restore him. Instead of pointing out how Peter had failed him, Jesus asked a simple question: "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?"

Peter's answer is his confession: "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Three times Jesus asked the same question, and three times Peter confessed his love this way. His arrogance and self-reliance were gone.

We have all failed our Lord in some way. We may have done this by failing someone else in our lives, or perhaps we denied Jesus by our lifestyle. The only way for things to be right again is to respond to the Savior's call (since he is always with us), admit our failing, and confess that we love him. And, by his grace, he gives us a new beginning!

Lord Jesus, I confess that I have often failed. Please for-give me, and grant me a new beginning so that I can live for you. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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