“This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, 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.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of Jonah, 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 all things; You know that I love You.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Feed My sheep.'”–John 21:15-17 NKJV
When God repeats Himself in the Bible He is underlining something of importance. Two examples are the case of Moses at the burning bush and Samuel as a child, when God called their names multiple times. Each was being groomed for positions of spiritual leadership over the nation of Israel, so God urgently interrupted their lives to get their attention.
In this case, Jesus repeats Himself to Peter three times! Scripturally speaking, this is immensely significant. Jesus prayed three times in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:41), and Paul sought the Lord three times for help regarding an attack from Satan (2 Cor. 12:8). The number three seems to represent the “sealing” of a thing, which is what I believe we find here.
Peter is not only being restored from his denial of Jesus at His arrest, he is also being prepared for the journey God has mapped out for him. Peter has what most of us have, both a shaky past and a daunting future to consider. It would be easy for him to get frustrated and draw back again, so Jesus walks him through the job description that will keep him settled every day until the last day!
What are you called to focus on each day? Take the time to sit with Jesus and find out, because time spent with Him is the bond that will hold you steady in the will of God until Jesus returns.
This excerpt was taken from Everyday Preparation For Jesus’ Return by Rocky Veach.