Sunday, April 18, 2010
In the Gospel this morning (John 21:1-19) we see the apostles encountering the risen Christ yet again. They haul in a big load of fish and then sit and have a breakfast of fish and bread baked over a charcoal fire. When they finish eating Jesus calls Peter aside and three times he asks Peter "Do you love me?" Peter answers that of course he does, but by the third time starts to get annoyed (as anyone who has repeatedly answered the same question from someone might be).
Jesus asks three times, not because he doesn't hear him answer, or doesn't quite believe what he's being told, but because Peter denied Jesus three times. Jesus gave Peter a chance at redemption. Three denials earlier, and now three assertions of his love.
Peter probably felt pretty far past forgiveness when he first realized that he had denied his Lord just as Jesus had predicted. But Jesus gave him the opportunity to make up for it.
I find this very comforting. We stumble and fall along the way, but Jesus is always there, ready to forgive and to give us another chance.