Readings: Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41; Revelation 5:11-14; John 21:1-19
I believe there are moments in John’s Gospel when Jesus challenges the best out of people standing on the brink. Last month he asked the woman taken in adultery, Has no one condemned you? If she is ever to change her life, she must answer No one, Sir, lest she spend the rest of her life condemning herself in despair.
Jesus says to doubting Thomas, Put your finger here. So Thomas does what the other disciples didn’t dare but should have done. He touches Jesus as any of that had once done–and they’re again connected with the Lord.
I believe it’s very important for Peter‘s sake that Jesus asks him three times, Simon son of John, do you love me? Having betrayed Jesus three times, it’s only fair that Peter should reaffirm his love three times. But might Jesus also be provoking Peter to break free of the tangle of his self-doubts? Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.
This is what Simon Peter does best: he owns his sins and without any self-justification, again follows the Lord. It’s not east to let go of shame, is it? It’s not easy to push on, everyone knowing how badly you failed.
This is John’s version of Peter’s confession, of his faith and frailty, This is the way he admits you are the Christ; doesn’t he then reveal that his love is deeper than his betrayal?
As only John’s Gospel could, Simon Peter is central to God’s people because he’s moveable, capable of accompanying the sheep he guides.