This is the fourth in a series of posts (click here for lesson one , two, and three) discussing the 5 most valuable leadership lessons Martha Lawley , author of Attending the Bride of Christ: Preparing For His Return learned from the life of Peter. Are we so grateful to God for his ministry of restoration in our lives?
The 5 leadership lessons include:
1. Leadership is a Calling
2. Leadership is Dynamic and Can be Messy
3. Beware of Self Reliance
4. God is in the Business of Restoration
5. Comparing Ourselves to Others gets in the Way of Following God
Today we’ll look at # 4: God is in the Business of Restoration!
In spite of Peter’s denial of Christ, God still had plans for him. He was not washed up or washed out! But he was in desperate need of restoration!
We know from Luke 24:34 Jesus appeared to Peter in private after His resurrection but since Peter’s failure was public Jesus also graciously provided a public restoration. In John 21:4-7; 15-22 records Jesus’ public restoration of Peter. I’m struck by the similarities between Peter’s original calling (Luke 5:1-11) and this reaffirmation of his calling. Don’t miss the personal touch here by Jesus- such a sweet tenderness towards Peter: recreating events certain to gently remind Peter of his original call to leadership. Perhaps Jesus was reinforcing that Peter’s call to leadership was still valid – that Peter’s betrayal had not voided it.
The exchange between Jesus and Peter has been the subject of many sermons and Bible commentaries. The word usage, the symbolism and the repetition communicate how intentional Jesus was in His restoration of Peter.
One thing all commentators seem to agree on is that Peter was a changed man. He is now much more reserved in his proclamation of devotion. Gone is the big talker – the man quick to make promises. Gone is the proud, self reliant Peter. He was indeed humbled, more reserved with his words.
Scripture reveals that Peter was grieved by the three-time repetition of Jesus’ question because it was a painful reminder of his previous three time denial. It was important that Peter face up to what he had done. Jesus restores us not by ignoring our failures, but rather by causing us to face squarely the failure, then challenging us to set our eyes on the work ahead!
The three-time repetition of Jesus’ question also gave Peter the chance to cancel out each denial with a fresh affirmation of love; opening the way for Peter to move forward with God.
Jesus exhorted Peter to “Feed My lambs . . . Tend My sheep”. This is the essence of our leadership call – to feed and tend God’s people. Peter’s failing did not void his calling. Christ still had plans for him!
Perhaps you feel you’ve failed God is some way and you are wondering if it is over for you as a leader. Or maybe you live in fear that someone will discover your failures and that restoration is not possible. I pray you will be as encouraged to know that God still has plans for you!