Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Dealing With Our Past

JOHN 21:12-17 – When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 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 everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

THEME OF THE DAY. DEALING WITH OUR PAST. Take a minute or two and re-read today’s scripture. Imagine Jesus inviting us to have breakfast on the beach with Him. That is what is happening to the disciples. But also imagine that there is something “hanging in the air” at this breakfast. All of the disciples, not just Peter, publically denied Jesus. Sitting on the beach, around the fire, I wonder if the disciples had much of an appetite? I wonder if in their minds was the thought, “Is He going to bring what we did up? Is it going to be a topic of discussion?” Well, breakfast ended and the conversation now is all about Peter and in the dialogue, we learn some very encouraging truth about how God deals with our past. Let’s listen and learn from Jesus talking to Peter. Now, granted, some of these lessons are implied but just as real and truth.

First lesson is that the Lord Jesus doesn’t bring up our past to condemn us. Pay attention how many times Jesus tells Peter, “You should have listened to me. I told you what was going to happen. You would deny me.” No, not one. He does say, “Do you love me?” three times and that was enough for the tender and broken-hearted disciple. He already was reeling from His past. The Lord doesn’t heap coals of condemnation on him, nor does He to us.

Next, the Lord Jesus doesn’t deal with us according to our past. With Peter, we don’t hear, “Peter, I cannot trust you. You failed me so I am not sure if I can really trust you again.” And we get the same treatment. Remember this great truth – He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us (Psalm 103:10-12).
A third lesson is that the Lord doesn’t shelf us from His service due to our past. Peter doesn’t get these words from the Lord, “I am sorry, Peter, but I gave you a chance, and you blew it. I can’t give you another chance.” And neither do we . . . ever. We are not done for the Lord because of our past failings. That leads to the final lesson . . .

We learn from our past. God teaches us from our past. Peter became the godly man he was because of his failings. And so shall we. Don’t let the past paralyze us. Let it shape us and move us closer to the Lord who uses all things – even our past failings for our good and His glory.

PRAYER: “Father, I praise You for dealing with my past through Your Son and seeing me forever righteous through Him.”

QUOTE: “Never listen to lies of condemnation about your past. They are not of God and to entertain them, defeats you.”