A third time Jesus said, 'Simon son of John do you love me?' Peter was sad because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me?' So he said to him, 'Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you!' John 21:17 (GNB)
I have done it again! The same situation, the same mistake. I am not only sorry for what I have done, I am ashamed that I did not learn the first time. Occasionally we are asked to review our progress in the faith; I cannot hide the weakness from myself, even if I try to disguise it from others.
I like Simon Peter. He has some of the same problems that I have, though his are for all to see. The disciples at his suggestion have gone fishing. They work all night but catch nothing until Jesus gives them directions -- a reminder, perhaps, that he should be part of all our activities.
After breakfast, Jesus asks Simon the same question three times. Simon is sad that his Master keeps asking him 'Do you love me?' Can he have already forgotten that only a few nights ago he denied knowing Jesus, three times? After he realised what he had done, Simon was deeply ashamed; now Jesus is giving him another chance to try again, with the past put behind him. I think I most like Simon Peter because he lets me see how God goes on loving him, and gives him another chance, even when he doesn't learn the first time.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we have sinned against you and against our
fellow men, in thought, word and deed. We are truly sorry and repent of all
our sins. For the sake of your son, Jesus Christ, who died for us, forgive us
all that is past, and grant that we may serve you in newness of life, to the
glory of your name.
Further reading: Ps 40;1-3. Jon 1:1-3, 2:1-3:4.