Jesus said, “Simon, do you love me?” Simon answered, “Yes, Lord. you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again, Jesus said, “Simon, do you love me?” Simon answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Tend my sheep.” Again, Jesus said, “Simon, do you love me?” Peter, hurt that Jesus had asked a third time, said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep…and follow me” (John 21.15-17, 19b; my rendition)
Whenever, through expediency or cowardice, I’ve denied something I said or did or betrayed a cherished belief or value, I feared having a conversation (perhaps a confrontation!) with the person I wronged. Likewise, when I’ve been wronged, the last thing I want to do is to engage my offender.
Yet Jesus and Peter painfully, courageously opened the tomb of the rotting bones of Peter’s triple denial of Jesus when he faced the cross of his crucifixion and death. Through their reaffirmation of love, they shared a resurrection-experience of reconciliation and the restoration of trust, expressed in Jesus’ renewal of his call, “Feed my sheep” and “Follow me.”
Henri-Frédéric Amiel, a 19th century Swiss moral philosopher and poet, wrote: “Life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us. So, be swift to love and make haste to be kind.”
In the searing light of this transformative encounter between Jesus and Peter, I see more clearly acts of denial and betrayal. Mine done unto others and others done unto me. In this light, I also see more clearly that there are people in this world with whom I need to have a conversation like that of Jesus and Peter. Intending no judgment of anyone else, I suspect that I am not alone.
To take the risk of going to the tombs of our broken relationships, daring to trust in the hope of resurrection is one way, I believe, that Easter Day – which, as a celebration, always annually comes and goes – stays.
© 2022 PRA
Illustration: Feed My Lambs (1886-1894), James Tissot (1836-1902)
#resurrectedliving #reconciliation #forgiveness #restorationofrelationship
 See John 18.17, 25-27
 Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821-1881)