Have you ever felt like a spiritual failure? If so, then you're in good company. Even the apostle Peter felt that way after he denied the Lord.
When Jesus told the disciples they would abandon Him in His hour of need, Peter insisted that he never would. But Jesus said that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed that day. And he did.
Now, Peter finds himself in an awkward moment. Jesus was crucified and had risen on the third day. He suddenly appears to them at the Sea of Galilee. Before they knew it, Jesus was cooking breakfast for everyone with the fish He had just helped them catch. Maybe as they ate, Peter was remembering when, not all that long ago, he denied the Lord by the glow of another fire.
Eventually, the Lord breaks the silence. He asks Peter a series of questions, each with the same phrase: "Do you love Me?"
Peter had learned his lesson. Instead of boasting of his love for the Lord, he simply answers, "Yes Lord; You know that I love you" (John 21:15–17). In the original language, the word Peter used for "love" was phileo
. It could be translated, "have an affection for."
At least Peter was being honest. We can talk all day about how much we love God, but never act on it. Peter eventually proved his love for the Lord. A leader in the early church and the writer of two New Testament epistles, he reportedly was crucified upside-down as a martyr for his faith.
How about you? Is your love for the Lord expressed more by your words than your actions?