The Restoration of a Call
Dr. J.R. Buskey
Pinecrest Teacher, and Director of the PC Ministerial Fellowship.
Much has been made of Peter's denial of Christ. His denial
was magnified by His bold testimony that, "Even though
all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.
. .even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You "Matt
Who among us has not expressed a bold and sometimes presumptuous
testimony during the early part of our Christian walk, when
we were still on the mountain and filled with the awe of His
marvelous transforming grace? Then we found ourselves, like
Peter, denying our Lord in the midst of some unexpected pressure.
As soon as Peter had denied the Lord for the third time
and the rooster crowed, he remembered the words of Jesus that
he would deny the one he loved. "And he went out and
Peter was more than disappointed or disgusted with himself,
he was broken. He had betrayed the Lord, and had failed in
the most important area of his life. Talk about a poor self-image,
what do you suppose he was saying to himself?
I expect he was "dumping" all over himself. He
did not need the enemy to condemn him, he was doing an adequate
job himself. He was probably saying things to himself like,
"I am a failure, I am worthless, Jesus will never be
able to trust me again, I am through, I should do the honorable
thing and quit etc."
Being a witness to the resurrected Christ brought mixed
emotions forth in Peter. There was the joy of seeing the one
he loved, alive again. But, there was also a deep sadness
caused by the memory and knowledge of his failure. He thought:
"If only I had been strong and true." It was difficult
for him t look Jesus in the face.
Then, it happened. They were in His presence. Jesus had
called to them from the shore, and had given to them a full
net of fish after a night of catching nothing. He even prepared
breakfast for them. After they had feasted and fellowshipped
together, Jesus addressed Peter with a pointed question, "Simon,
son of John, do you love Me more than these?"
Peter had testified earlier that he did. Was Jesus rubbing
it in? In fact,he asked Peter three times if he loved him.
Peter must have been painfully mindful of his three time denial.
It is recorded that when Jesus asked him the third time, Peter
was grieved. (see John 21:15-17).
No, Jesus was not rubbing in Peter's denial. He was restoring
Peter's call. Remember, Jesus had called Peter to be a "fisher
of men." In Luke's account of Jesus' prophesy, Jesus
said, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission
to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your
faith may not fail; and you when once you have turned again,
strengthen your brothers" Luke 22:31-32 ASV.
Each time after Jesus asked Peter if he loved him and Peter
responded "yes," Jesus reaffirmed Peter's call,
"Tend My lambs, shepherd My sheep, tend My sheep."
Jesus asked three times, so that three times He could affirm
His call on Peter's life. Jesus knew that Peter felt unworthy,
and was defeated because of his denial. But, in mercy and
love He was laying a foundation for Peter's ministry. Peter
was never again to wallow in the self-doubt of failure regarding
the Lord's call on his life.
As I write these words, I sense there will be someone who
has in some way failed their calling and has been "dumping"
on themselves. Someone who has thrown in the towel, or is
considering it. His word to you is, "Do you love me?"
If you do, then hear Him say to you, "Tend My lambs,
feed My sheep." Jesus is a restorer and reconciler, He
is not a condemner.
Take your eyes off of yourself, and put them on Him who
says to us through Paul, "For by grace you have been
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the
gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should
boast. Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond
all that we ask or think, according to the power that works
within us" Eph 2:8,20 ASV.