Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
Jesus knew Peter was still feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed about denying Him three times. It is not so uncommon for people to return to what felt comfortable in their old life when the pressure is on and circumstances aren’t going the way they expected. Peter returns to his original occupation as a fisherman. As a leader of the group, he leads the others to do the same (John 21:2, Mark 1:16–20). Jesus showed His tremendous mercy towards Peter. He goes to where Peter and the other disciples are fishing. After Jesus helps them catch a giant net full of fish and eats with them, He begins to address Peter. He asks Peter three times whether He loves Him, matching the number of times Peter had denied Him. First, he is asking if Peter loves “these” more than Him. When Jesus uses the word “these,” it could be that He is asking if Peter loves Him more than fishing or more than the other disciples. Jesus shows great mercy towards Peter and reinstates Him as the leader by saying, in verse 16, “take care of my sheep.”
“Take care of” in the Greek is “pŏimainō.” It means to tend as a shepherd; supervise; rule. As Jesus continues to ask Peter about his love towards Him, Peter is grieved by being forced to remember his denial which compromised his calling as Jesus’ disciple (v.17). Then, Jesus says to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” He clearly has forgiven Peter, and in plain view of the other disciples, Jesus reinstates him to lead the church like a shepherd would his sheep.
The first person you need to have mercy towards is yourself. You can’t give away what you don’t have and you do give away what you have.
Jesus lived his life as an example for us and wants us to be agents of mercy in the same way He was merciful towards Peter. It is said that mercy is like a diamond; it is multi-faceted. What do the multi-facets of a mercy look like? Examples:
The first person you need to have mercy towards is yourself. You can’t give away what you don’t have and you do give away what you have. If you don’t have mercy towards yourself, it’s hard to give it to others. Have you made past mistakes and haven’t had mercy towards yourself? Ask Jesus to help give you this multi-faceted mercy towards yourself in whatever it is you are judging yourself so harshly about. Now, ask the Lord if there is anyone that you need to extend mercy towards. It will free both of you up. The last thing Jesus tells Peter in this passage is, “Follow me.” How would your life look differently if today, and everyday forward, you chose to have mercy towards yourself and others and wholeheartedly follow Jesus?
My prayer for you is that you continue on a journey of growing in Jesus, having daily devotions and living out the amazing life purpose that God has for you!
God bless you, Pastor Teresa Quinn