Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these? John 21:15.
Peter never forgot the painful scene of his humiliation. He did not forget his denial of Christ and think that, after all, it was not a very great sin….
No restoration can be complete unless it reaches to the very depth of the soul by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Under the Holy Spirit’s influence, Peter stood before a congregation of thousands and in holy boldness charged the wicked priests and rulers with the very sin of which he himself had been guilty….
Three times after His resurrection, Christ tested Peter. “Simon, son of Jonas,” He said, “lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” …
When the third time Christ said to Peter, “Lovest thou me?” the probe reached the soul center. Self-judged, Peter fell upon the Rock, saying, “Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” …
Some assert that if a soul stumbles and falls, he can never regain his position; but the case before us contradicts this. Before his denial, Christ said to Peter, “When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” In committing to his stewardship the souls for whom He had given His life, Christ gave to Peter the strongest evidence of His confidence in his restoration….
Peter was now humble enough to understand the words of Christ, and without further questioning, the once restless, boastful, self-confident disciple became subdued and contrite. He followed his Lord indeed—the Lord he had denied. The thought that Christ had not denied and rejected him was to Peter a light and comfort and blessing. He felt that he could be crucified from choice, but it must be with his head downward….
Christ is our tower of strength, and Satan can have no power over the soul who walks with God in humility of mind…. If we lean to our own wisdom, our wisdom will prove to be foolishness. But if we will give ourselves unselfishly to the work, never swerving in the least from principle, the Lord will throw about us the everlasting arms and will prove a mighty helper.—Youth’s Instructor, December 22, 1898.