“He said to him the third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My Sheep’” (John 21:17).
The source of Peter’s grief was his threefold denial of Jesus. It was an issue that had to be addressed if Peter was to be restored to a place of eventual leadership in the life of the early church. While it’s tempting to be critical and say, “I would never have denied knowing my Lord,” the truth is that while we may have never denied our Lord in the same manner as Peter, we daily deny him in myriad ways. By perpetuating gossip, participating in hate speech; through our actions and attitudes we shout, “I don’t know the man.” Thankfully, like Peter, he restores even us to service.