What Jesus Did! 'The Third Time' — John 21:15-17

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord," Peter replied, "you know I love you." "Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love you." "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said. A third time he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you." Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep."
— John 21:15-17 NLT

Key Thought

Do you think Peter heard the rooster crow again when Jesus asked him the question the third time? Three times earlier he denied his Lord by a charcoal fire. Three times beside another charcoal fire his Lord asked Peter about the genuineness of his love. Jesus was creative and sensitive, but he was also determined — Peter had to face his failure. So Jesus confronted him three times. Peter claimed his dedication was stronger than the rest. Jesus asked him if he still claimed to love his Lord more than the rest. Peter claimed that he would never deny his Lord, but he did so three times. Jesus' loving confrontation of Peter wasn't about shaming Peter, but reclaiming him. Peter had to face his failure, so Jesus asked him three times. Jesus also reaffirmed Peter's call to ministry three times. Have you failed the Lord? Don't despair. He can and will use you if you will be open about your failure and let him call you again to ministry and service.

Today's Prayer

Father, forgive me for my failures, sins, and moments of unfaithfulness. Restore me to your service, renew me in my passion for holiness, and rekindle me with your Spirit. I want to honor and serve you always. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Psalm 51:1-3, 7-13
  • Psalm 32:1-4
  • James 5:16


Other Devotionals from Heartlight for Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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The classic twice-daily devotional from Charles H. Spurgeon.
"The Christian will be sure to make enemies. It will be one of his objects to make none; but if to do the right, and to believe the true, should cause...."


Illustration of John 21:15-17 NLT — "Then feed my sheep."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.