All of us at least at one point in our lives have felt the sting of rejection. It may have been after a job interview or being looked over for a promotion. Some of us may have been rejected by the people we love most. While others of us may have felt the sting of rejection by not being good enough, not belonging, or not qualifying. Peter knew rejection too.
Peter was in Jesus’ inner most circles. Peter ate with Jesus, walked with Jesus, learned from Jesus, and Peter denied knowing him at Jesus’ most critical time in his life. Jesus told Peter that before the rooster crowed three times he would deny knowing him. In Luke 22:54-62, we read of how Peter denies Jesus after the third time, Verse 61 says, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.’” Rejection, Peter felt it; he knew the feeling right in his core when Christ looked at him. However, Jesus didn’t reject Peter or give him the “told you so” look. Instead Jesus looked on him the same way he looks upon us; with love and compassion.
It didn’t take Peter long to go back to this old ways of doing things. After Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, Peter went back to fishing. Peter was reminded each morning when he woke up and heard the rooster crow that he denied Jesus. He couldn’t run from what he did, what good was his ministry now? He rejected his friend, his savior, his mentor, in the most desperate time of his life. So, Peter fished. He went back to what he knew. However, Jesus wanted to redeem that moment of rejection. Jesus wanted to let Peter know that he still had a plan for his life.
Jesus went to the place Peter was; on the shore bringing in his catch from the night. They sat down, cooked some fish and Jesus asked him not once, but three times, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” (John 21:15-19) Jesus knew Peter’s mind had been conditioned that when he heard the rooster crow 3 times he would remember his denial. Jesus redeemed that moment by asking him 3 times whether he loved him. Then Jesus gave Peter his purpose, his charge, his life’s destiny when by replying, “Feed my sheep.”
Jesus redeems moments, memories, and emotions. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). You may feel that you have done horrible things in your life that Jesus would never accept you. You may have even rejected Jesus and the love he has for you. It doesn’t matter. Jesus will always welcome, always love, and always accept you. He never rejects, humiliates, or tosses aside people. Peter felt rejected but it was unwarranted and unnecessary. Jesus extends his love to you to redeem you just as he did to Peter.