“Jesus looks around at Peter’s fishing boat and tackle. Peter has gone back to the old life again, unsure what to do with himself next. Jesus says, ‘Simon, son of John, when I first met you, you were a fisherman, and I called you to be a fisher of humans. You were very happy then to come with me and work alongside me. Now you are back here again. Do you love me more than these?’ Peter is a bit nonplused and doesn’t know where this is leading, but manages to say: ‘Yes, Lord – you know I love you.’ ‘Well,’ Jesus says, ‘I have a job for you. Feed my lambs.’
Peter doesn’t know what to say to this, but Jesus goes on: ‘And Peter, you remember how you said you would go with me even to death? How even if all the others left me you wouldn’t? It didn’t work out that like that, did it? I heard you that night, as you know. You told them you didn’t even know me. Simon, son of John, do you love me?’ Peter hangs his head. There is no denying it now. ‘Yes, Lord,’ he says, ‘you know that I love you.’ ￼
But Jesus isn’t finished yet. There is no point in getting someone to see themselves as they really are if you don’t show them where to go from there. ‘Don’t you see, Peter?’ he says. ‘That’s not the end of the story. Peter, the next day they took me outside the city and they crucified me. They watched me die while you hid away somewhere. ‘But don’t you see what it means? I was despised and rejected by everybody. I had nothing but darkness and pain and death. But Peter, I bore all your griefs. I carried all your sorrows. I was wounded for your transgressions. I was bruised for your iniquities. Upon me was the punishment that made you whole. As they beat me, you were being healed. You were straying away like a lost sheep, Peter, but God laid on me the punishment for all your sin. Simon, son of John, do you love me?’
Peter, feeling that the tears in his eyes tell the truth anyway, says, ‘Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.’ And Jesus goes on to tell him of the new life he must lead, a life of serving God, a life of suffering and death, a life of following the Master.
The story hardly needs applying further. Christian faith begins (or it may begin) with understanding what Peter understood that morning. It is as we see Jesus, dying so that his people need not die, completing on the cross the work of our salvation, wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that we see clearly the love that God has for us. It is also the point at which we begin to love God in return.”
N. T. Wright. Small Faith–Great God. 2nd ed. IVP Books, 2010. 72-74.