He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)
I love this particular scripture. I can just picture in my mind Jesus on the sandy beach preparing a breakfast of fish for the disciples... and Peter jumping into the water when he recognizes His master, anxious to be near Him again. Excited... breathing hard... his heart racing... hair and clothes wet and dripping as he falls at the Lord's feet.
Can you see Jesus on the shore? Feet in the warm sand... wind blowing His hair and robe... eyes squinting in the sun. His hands reaching toward Peter to greet him and lift him up. All of creation feeling His touch where His feet meet the ground and His breath mingles with our air? It seems that the very sand beneath His feet would leap up to support Him and the blades of grass would lean towards Him as toward the sunlight, anticipating His next movement.
It intrigues me that Jesus was preparing a meal for them... breakfast. They had not seen Him since the resurrection and had gone back to fishing. Spiritually they were defeated and on a forced spiritual fast without their Master. He was inviting them to break their fast and come fellowship with Him again. Peter is broken and brokenhearted because Jesus keeps asking him, "do you love me?" and he says "Lord! You know all things! You know I love you!"
Still hurting because of his trio of betrayals and ashamed of his own 'speak first, think later' personality. He had learned one thing, if nothing else. He had learned that he could never betray his master by denying Him again. The penalty of separation from Him was too hard. The self condemnation too much to bear.
Peter was transformed by Jesus' love and forgiveness. Jesus commanded him to "feed my sheep" He used the Greek word 'boskos' for feed which means "the duty of a Christian teacher to promote in every way the spiritual welfare of the members of the church." The duty. Work. Responsibility. This is your job Peter.
Just as we all are changed by Jesus, I believe on that day that Peter was truly made whole in Christ.
Jesus is present with us spiritually as He was physically with His friends on the beach. He meets with us at some "beach point" in our lives and asks each of His children the same question He put to Peter... "Do you love me?" and with our 'yes' answer, He fills us with His purpose and vision for our lives and then give us the ability to carry it out.
Can we betray or reject Him? Yes. But the penalty is a life of unfulfilled dreams and a lack of vision. The penalty is spiritual emptiness and a longing for what might have been. By our obedience to His plan we are fulfilled and He is glorified.
Say Yes and begin your life on a beach with Jesus.