It was only a few days after the Resurrection of Jesus when He surprised His disciples on the sea shore with a campfire breakfast.
Peter, who was surely still guilt-ridden due to denying Jesus three times in His greatest time of physical need, was among the disciples as he saw Jesus on the shore from his fishing boat on the water. At the sight of Jesus, Peter leapt out of the boat into the water and swam to shore.
Following breakfast, Jesus unpacked a difficult conversation with Peter. It’s often called the “Three-fold restoration of Peter.” Jesus asked Peter three time if he loved Him, likely significant of Peter’s three denials of Jesus.
Following each question, Peter increasingly exclaimed, “Yes!” On that third answer, John tells us in John 21 that Peter was grieved and proclaimed, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” After each of Peter’s responses, Jesus gave him a command: “Feed my lambs,” “Tend my sheep,” and “Feed my sheep.”
Remember that it was only a couple weeks earlier that Peter was foretold by Christ that he would deny Him, to which Peter proclaimed, “If all others fall away, I will never forsake you!”
As the saying goes, “Talk is cheap.”
I believe Christ was teaching Peter with each of His responses that words aren’t enough; love for Christ must result in action. I think Christ again emphasized that with the last command in this conversation of restoration: “Follow me.”
Who do you follow? I’ve often said that we can see who we are allegiant to by two things: our calendar and our checkbook. If you are a follower of Christ, do others know it? Can others tell by your actions and your words that you follow Jesus?
We become like those we hang out with. You can probably see that reality in all your friendships and relationships. You’ve probably seen couples who naturally act more like each other the longer they are married.
God has beat this through my thick skull over the years: That if I spend more time with him each day in His Word, my actions will begin to be changed.
Be intentional with whom you spend time, and flesh out your words with action this month. You never know what kind of impact it might have on the people around you.
Brett Myers is the senior pastor at First Baptist Church on Hilton Head Island. FBCHHI.org