‘Do you love me?’: John 21.15–19 (Day 365)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: John 21

Perhaps all of us know what it's like to betray and hurt people we care about, at least to some extent. It might be as simple as failing to live up to what they think of us; or it might be something worse, like turning our backs on them when they really need our help.

Peter's denial of Jesus (John 18) falls into that category. He has shown considerable bravery in following Jesus into the High Priest's house, but his courage fails him. He denies Jesus three times; the cock-crow after the third denial, in accordance with Jesus' prophecy, is heartbreakingly poignant.

So is his forgiveness and restoration. Jesus asks him three times whether he loves him, and each time honours him by trusting him with work to do. It's a moment of deep significance for Peter, and for us. We too are betrayed by those we care about, but we can still forgive and trust again. But we are betrayers, too; and we can still be forgiven and restored to usefulness. In human relationships we should never underestimate the cost of forgiveness, or seek to force its pace, and we shouldn't allow it to excuse or enable destructive behaviour – but forgiveness is what believers do.

In our relationship with God, like Peter, we might deny Jesus because we're too afraid to be associated with him; or, more likely, because we are too selfish or lazy. This story John tells of forgiveness is one we all need to hear. We're all invited to reaffirm our love for Jesus again, so we can be restored to useful and honoured service.

Pray

Pray

God, thank you that I can be forgiven and restored by your grace and loving kindness. Help me to forgive as I have been forgiven.

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