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From Heaven With Love

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    Peter Is Restored to Confidence

    Another lesson Christ had to give. Peter's denial of his Lord had been in shameful contrast to his former professions of loyalty. He had dishonored Christ, and his brethren thought he would not be allowed to take his former position among them. He himself felt that he had forfeited his trust. He must before them all give evidence of his repentance. Without this, his sin might destroy his influence as a minister of Christ. The Saviour gave him opportunity to regain the confidence of his brethren, and, so far as possible, to remove the reproach he had brought on the gospel.HLv 540.4

    Here is a lesson for all Christ's followers. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required. The disciple's sin causes Satan to triumph and wavering souls to stumble. By giving proof of repentance the disciple is to remove this reproach.HLv 541.1

    While Christ and the disciples were eating together, the Saviour said to Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” referring to his brethren. “Yea, Lord,” he said, “Thou knowest that I love Thee,” Jesus bade him, “Feed My lambs.” There was no vehement assurance that his love was greater than that of his brethren.HLv 541.2

    Again Jesus applied the test: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?” The second response was like the first, free from extravagant assurance: “Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.”HLv 541.3

    Once more the Saviour put the trying question: “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?” Peter was grieved. He knew that his Lord had cause to distrust him, and with an aching heart he answered, “Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.” Again Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.”HLv 541.4

    Three times Peter had openly denied his Lord, and three times Jesus pressed home that pointed question like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart. Before the assembled disciples Jesus revealed the depth of Peter's repentance and showed how thoroughly humbled was the once boasting disciple.HLv 541.5

    Just before Peter's fall, Jesus had said to him, “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32. The transformation in Peter was evident. Because of his humiliation and repentance, Peter was better prepared than before to act as shepherd to the flock.HLv 541.6

    The first work Christ entrusted to Peter was to feed the “lambs”—to minister to those who were young in the faith, to teach the ignorant, to open the Scriptures to them and educate them for usefulness in Christ's service. For this work his own suffering and repentance had prepared him.HLv 542.1

    Before his fall, Peter was always ready to correct others and to express his mind. But the converted Peter was very different. He retained his former fervor, but the grace of Christ regulated his zeal. He could then feed the lambs as well as the sheep of Christ's flock.HLv 542.2

    The Saviour's manner of dealing with Peter taught the disciples to meet the transgressor with patience, sympathy, and forgiving love. Remembering his own weakness, Peter was to deal with his flock as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.HLv 542.3

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