In verses 15-17 we find Jesus famously asking Peter if he loves him, three times, leading to the following in verse 17:
'The third time, he [Jesus] 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."...'
-- John 21v17 (NIV) --
So have said to me that this reflects the three times Peter denied Jesus in the temple courtyard back in John 18v15-18, 25-27.
Peter's reaction is understandable, having just affirmed that he loved Jesus twice before. But what really struck me about this verse was not Peter's hurt reaction, but that he was confused as to why Jesus had asked him the same sensitive thing, yet again. I feel Peter was more hurt than understanding of Jesus here.
Jesus was not taunting Peter here, no, for that is not God's nature.
I was reminded that whenever God speaks to us, just as with Peter, he never speaks idly or meaninglessly; he speaks with purpose! As for understanding what he's saying, we need to remember that it's the Holy Spirit that opens the bible to our ears, and it is therefore God that we need to seek, in order to understand his will for us.
We can be assured that what he teaches and speaks to us is for our good, and for his glory, though we may be walking a dark path at the moment. What is key here, therefore, is that we need to seek God wholeheartedly -- and it's the whole he seeks. And in doing this, he will reveal his plan to us, in his time, and when that part of his plan is right for us.
Praise God that:
- he knows what's going on, because he's watching over and walking with us
- his plan for us is good, even though we can't see how sometimes
- HE is good, in every way. In sending Jesus to a cruel world, his love is made concrete in our hearts and minds