Going on with God

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John 21:1–25

‘The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”’ (v17)

It can be easy when thinking of the various Bible characters, to think of them as perfect exemplars of service to God. Yet a detailed study of their lives, as depicted in the Bible, gives us a different picture.

  • Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister (Gen. 20:2).
  • King David committed adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11).
  • John Mark deserted the apostle Paul on his first mission trip (Acts 13:13).
  • Peter denied having ever known the Lord (Mark 14:66–72).

Thinking about Peter, after denying that he ever knew Jesus, Peter went back to his old life, to what he knew, to being a fisherman. 

Perhaps Peter thought his days of being used by God were over. Maybe the earlier promises of Jesus in Matthew 16, verse 18, that Peter would be a key figure in the building of Christ’s Church, were null and void. Yet letting God down and misrepresenting His character in some way, does not have to be permanent or fatal. 

In John chapter 21, we see the resurrected Jesus, reinstate Peter, re-affirming him in his calling to shepherd God’s people – to go on with God. Perhaps we feel we have let God down, disqualifying us from service.

Whilst it is important to maturely reflect on our failures and shortcomings, they can helpfully shape us, but should never define us. We need to allow the Lord’s Word and calling to come to us afresh, to reinstate us, and to encourage us to get on with the task He has called us to do.


Jer. 15:1–21; Hosea 14:1–9; Luke 17:1–10; 1 John 1:1– 10


We paralysed by our past failures – struggling to move on in loving service to the Lord? Receive His commission, allowing His Spirit to re-instate us,
using the gifts He has given us.


‘Lord, thank You that I am not the sum of my past failures and that Your Word
of re-instatement comes to commission me. Help me to receive it with a thankful heart. Amen.’

Photo by Spencer Goggin on Unsplash

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.