“Simon, son of John, do you love me? Simon said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
There are many proofs of the resurrection of Jesus. One of the most significant is the changing of the Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday. Jewish followers of Jesus believed that the resurrection was so significant that they changed their Sabbath to the Day of Resurrection. Every time we gather to worship our Risen Savior, we remember that every Sunday is Easter Sunday.
However, the greatest proof of the resurrection is not the change in the Sabbath, but the changed lives of the disciples. Peter is a case in point. Throughout the gospel narratives, Peter is portrayed as impetuous and strong willed. In the garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Peter took his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s slave. Jesus instructed Peter to put his sword back in into its sheath. That same evening, Peter promised Jesus that he would lay down his life for him. Jesus was not impressed. Instead, Jesus countered that before the cock crows, Peter will deny him three times. Read John 18:27. As Peter warmed himself by a charcoal fire, he emphatically denied that he had ever even known Jesus! At that very moment… the cock crowed. Peter felt ashamed.
As we see how Jesus dealt with Simon Peter, we realize how desperately God wants to restore us to wholeness. Jesus knew that Peter was struggling and needed forgiveness and empowerment for the work God had for him. Although Peter saw the empty tomb, he was still consumed with his own guilt and shame. As many of us do when we are struggling emotionally, Peter did something familiar…he went fishing… and caught nothing. The emptiness of the nets matched the emptiness in Peter’s soul. After this disappointing fishing trip, the disciples saw the Risen Jesus Christ on the shore instructing them to throw their nets over to the other side of the boat. When they did this, they caught so many fish that their nets were about to break! This made Peter feel even more unworthy to see Jesus, so he put his clothes on (he had been fishing almost naked) and jumped into the sea.
As he came to shore, Peter spied a charcoal fire with fish and bread cooking on it; the same kind of charcoal fire beside which he denied Jesus three times. After breakfast, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him…three times. Each time, Peter responded in the affirmative and Jesus commanded him to feed my sheep. By this charcoal fire, Jesus offered him a three- fold opportunity for forgiveness for a three- fold denial. Jesus met Peter at his point of need and offered him a new call to “feed my sheep.” This experience with the Risen Lord Jesus changed Peter from being a coward to a man of courage! Peter’s preaching was totally transformed. He proclaimed the gospel with boldness and courage… even when his life was on the line. Peter refused to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, as the Jewish counsel instructed him to do, and went to jail for his disobedience. Peter was such a changed man that he volunteered to be crucified upside down on a cross…because he did not feel worthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord!
What changed Peter from being a coward to a man of courage? Peter met the Risen Christ and realized that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead was available to him…and he claimed it in his life and ministry! This is the most convincing proof of the resurrection. Have we claimed this power for our lives?