Thursday, March 31, 2016

Three Strikes and You’re In

By Allen White

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. John 21:15-17

How do you feel when someone asks you the same question more than once? “Are we there yet?” As much as we start off patient, it doesn’t end there. But, why do they keep asking?

Kids aren’t asking “Are we there yet?” They’re making a statement: “I’m tired of riding in this seat. Other twelve-year-olds don’t sit in a car seat. Let’s get there already.” But, other repeated questions can be more troublesome.

Are they asking because they didn’t hear my answer the first time? Are they just not paying attention to what I have to say? Or, are they asking because they don’t trust me? Ouch.

Peter felt that Jesus’ questions fell in the last category. Jesus asked about Peter’s love for Him three times. Maybe this was to balance out Peter’s three denials of Jesus (John 18). Cue the rooster.

Jesus’ intent wasn’t to taunt Peter. Jesus loved him. Perhaps the three questions did counter the three denials. Jesus’ heart was toward reconciliation. This was three strikes, you’re in.

God’s heart toward us is always toward reconciliation. From Eden until now, God always wants to reconcile with us. Even His hatred of our sin betrays His love for us. God doesn’t want anything to stand in the way of our relationship with Him.

No matter who you are. No matter what you’ve done. God hasn’t given up on you. God will never give up on you. He isn’t like us. His chances don’t run out. God is not in a hurry. He will wait until we have run through all of the solutions and scenarios. When our excuses are all used up, God will step in. If we want to be left to ourselves, He will do that too.

What have you done that you feel might be too big to forgive? God is always ready to forgive. All you have to do is ask. Now, there may be damage to relationships that will take a lot of work over time. But, God’s forgiveness is immediately available.

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