When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.”
“Feed my lambs,” he told him. A second time he asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” he said to him, “you know that I love you.” “Shepherd my sheep,” he told him.
He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” “Feed my sheep,” Jesus said.
On the night leading up to the crucifixion, in Matthew 26:34, Jesus humbled Peter. Peter, exhibiting the immaturity of an untested believer proclaimed his willingness to die before denying Jesus. “‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to him, ‘tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’” Sure enough, Matthew 26:74 reads, “Then he started to curse and to swear with an oath, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed,” following Peter’s third denial of Jesus.
So, after asking Peter if he loved Him more than this miraculous fisherman’s grand-slam, Jesus confronted and commissioned Peter three times, once for each of Peter’s denials. Drawing upon the Old Testament theme of God shepherding His people, Jesus put Peter to work as the one who would launch the church into the New Testament era. If you have failed Jesus before, consider bringing these failures before Him that He might heal you and put you back to work.
What is that sore spot in your heart that you hope God does not bring back to mind? Journal what it would be like to turn that former failure into a brand new ministry.
Pray: Confess to God what He already knows about your past failures and ask Him to use these past failures to minister to others.