Before you begin, take a few moments to quiet your mind and prepare your heart to receive God’s Word. Read the following passage at least twice, and then pray through the points below.
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.”
Though God already knows everything about us, including our "secret" shame and sin, He wants us to bring these things before Him. He wants us to trust His goodness, even in our grief and anguish at our failures. Take a few moments to reflect on your life. Is there anything you're hiding from God? Is there anything you're afraid to bring before Him? Is there anything keeping you from fully embracing the call to follow Him? Pray that God would remind you of the freedom you have in Christ. Sin has no dominion over us, since we've been set free by the grace of Christ (Romans 6:14).
Jesus restored, commissioned, and then prophesied over Peter in this passage. Observe the impact of Jesus's questions. By the third time Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, Peter was grieved that the Lord continued to ask. Jesus was probing into the deepest parts of Peter's heart to draw out the shame and allow Peter to feel the weightiness of what Jesus was asking. Jesus was about to commission Peter to "feed [His] sheep" (21:17). Pray that God would purify our hearts and draw out anything we've been trying to hide from Him or anything that would keep us from fuliflling His call on our lives.
Jesus's love for Peter was greater than Peter's shame at his own failures. Pray that we would not be held back by memories of our failures. Pray that the love of Jesus that overcomes all things would propel us onward in our mission to the nations. Jesus knows the deepest, darkest places of our hearts, and He still loves us with a perfect love that casts out all fear. As we send goers to the nations, pray that we would not fear this intimacy with Jesus. Pray that we would not hide in our shame, but rather confess our sin and bring it out into the light that we might be healed (James 5:16). Pray that, like Peter, we would lean into the restoration of Jesus.