Again Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you truly love me?" -John 21:16
The question above was painful to Simon Peter. It was, in fact, asked three times, which grieved Peter all the more.
Yet Jesus asked the question three times, not because he wanted assurance or commitment, but he was looking for character.
In answering Jesus the third time, Peter said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." In essence, Peter was saying, "Lord, you know the stuff I'm made of; you know what's deep inside of me"
What was deep inside Peter? Brokenness. It came after the deep sorrow he experienced when he denied his friend and mentor three times. After brokenness came humility. No longer was Peter the proud, brash and impulsive fisherman that Jesus first called. Here now was a new Peter, who had just learned what friendship really meant – the readiness to forgive, but most of all, the giving of one's life for another.
Within Peter, all that exulted itself above God had to come crashing down. So that all that remained was his love for Jesus. It wasn't the same as that of God's love, but it was enough, for it was pure.
"Feed my sheep," Jesus proclaimed. The broken fisherman named Peter had now become a builder of man.
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