The Message of John (Lesson 26)
Feed my sheep | John 21:17
"Feed my sheep."
Jesus is able to restore the most fallen of sinners.
It means that no matter how far we may have failed, Jesus is always ready to welcome us back with open arms. This message is especially relevant for those who struggle with feelings of guilt, shame, and unworthiness.
And that is all of us.
The story of Peter's restoration in John 21 is a perfect example of how Jesus restores even the most fallen. Peter had denied Jesus three times. He must have felt like a complete failure. However, Jesus appeared to him and restored him, covering Peter’s guilt and shame and giving him a new sense of purpose and passion ministry.
The same can be true for us.
The truth is, we have denied Jesus far more than just three times. Rather, the count is incalculable.
That’s why many of us struggle with feeling genuinely treasured by God.
We may believe that we are forgiven and restored, but we may still feel like we are only being tolerated by God. This can be a difficult feeling to shake, especially if we have experienced rejection or abandonment in the past. But the cross proves that Jesus' heart is to restore us to full acceptance.
The cross is the proof of God's love and grace, and it shows us that no matter how much we may have sinned or fallen short, Jesus was willing to die for us to restore our relationship with God.
This means that we are not just tolerated by God, but we are treasured and loved beyond measure.
If we truly believed this, it would transform our lives in powerful ways.
(1) For one thing, it would free us from the burden of guilt and shame.
We would no longer feel like we had to earn God's love or approval, but we could rest in the knowledge that we are already loved and accepted.
On the cross, Jesus took our guilt and shame upon himself.
Believing this gives us a sense of peace and contentment that is hard to find in a world that tells us we must do more and be better to be loved and accepted.
(2) It would also give us a new sense of purpose and direction.
When we know that we are loved and valued by God through the cross, we can approach life with confidence and courage.
We can take risks and live for Jesus without fear of failure, even when it’s not popular, because we know that even if we fail or are rejected, we are still loved and accepted by God.
(3) Finally, it would transform the way we relate to others.
When we know that we are loved and accepted by God, we can extend that same love and acceptance to others.
We can show compassion and forgiveness to those who have wronged us, knowing that we have been forgiven ourselves.
Because that is the message of the cross. Just as our sin is incalculable, so is the extent of God’s mercies in the blood of Christ.
Why do many people struggle to feel genuinely treasured by God, even after receiving forgiveness and restoration?
How does the story of Peter's restoration in John 21 illustrate the power of Jesus' grace and forgiveness?
What is the significance of the cross as proof of Jesus' heart to restore us to full acceptance?
What changes might occur in our lives if we truly believed that we are fully accepted and treasured in Jesus?
How can embracing the truth of Jesus' full acceptance of us impact our relationships with others?
As we reflect on the story of Jesus' restoration of Peter in John 21, we are reminded of your grace and forgiveness towards us as sinners.
We ask that you help us to truly believe that you fully accept and treasured us in Christ as your beloved children. May we no longer feel like we have to earn your love or approval, but instead, rest in the knowledge that we are already loved and accepted through the cross.
May this truth transform our lives in powerful ways, freeing us from the burden of guilt and shame and giving us a new peace and courage as we live as disciples of Jesus.
For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.